The horrifying moment a nine-year-old girl screamed in terror after realising she was not properly strapped into an amusement park ride has been caught on video.
The family of Isabella Carmichael say she is “traumatised” after her first time on a “big ride” — the Mega Drop at the Greater Gulf Sate Fair in Mobile, Alabama — left her “shaking head to toe”.
In the clip posted on her mum April Piper’s TikTok, the young girl can be seen smiling as she sits on the ride while holding onto her over-the-shoulder restraint that is already in place. However, just moments later Isabella becomes frantic as she realises that her seatbelt has yet to be fastened by ride operators and attempts to grab it while yelling for help.
Operators can be seen checking on some riders but fail to make sure the nine-year-old is secure before the Mega Drop starts suddenly starts moving, triggering a guttural scream from Isabella and her friends and family in the crowd.
As onlookers watch on in horror, the ride comes to a stop mid-air and a young man sitting next to the little girl reaches out to comfort her. “They act like she doesn’t even exist…no one buckled her seat. The terror on her face because she knows she isn’t buckled hurts my heart so so bad,” Ms Piper captioned the footage, which has been viewed almost 25 million times.
Ms Piper explained that her daughter and son, who filmed the incident, attended the state fair with her best friends while she looked after her younger children.
“The ride did stop but only because my best friend was able to scream bloody murder in order to get the attention of the ride operators who were very busy in the control corner goofing off,” she claimed. “A super sweet young man soothed her and helped her calm down and pray. They lowered the ride and let her off.
Ms Piper said her oldest son and friends hadn’t expected the ride to start ascending before the operators checked her seat. “He did not comprehend what was happening in that moment. He thought he was just videoing his little sister going on a big ride for the first time. A piece of my little girl broke right in that moment,” the mum said.
Speaking to a local publication, Isabella said she thought no one had heard her screams because she was on one side while “the people who were controlling the ride were all the way on the other side.”
Greater Gulf State Fair responds
Josh Woods, the Executive Director of the Greater Gulf State Fair, told WKRG the operators immediately noticed something wasn’t right as soon as the Mega Drop went up into the air.
“The primary safety device that allows the rider to operate, that was engaged. The secondary device, the buckling of the buckle was not buckled,” he said. “There is a safety zone on the mega drop. It went up to the safety zone and again workers are looking, constantly looking. They did notice that the secondary safety device was unbuckled. The ride was immediately stopped, and everybody was brought down safely.”
Mr Woods said the fair workers have been given additional training. The incident comes just months after a 14-year-old boy died on a similar ride when staff allegedly failed to secure his seatbelt.
Social media users react to chilling video
The footage has been flooded with thousands of comments from stunned viewers, including a woman who witnessed the terrifying moment.
“I was there. I was horrified for her!!” she said.
“I have chills. The terror in her screams!” another TikToker wrote, while another added: “Poor baby, that made me so sad.”
While some people said the seatbelt is just an “additional safety measure”, not checking them was still a “major safety violation”. Someone else shared their own frightening experience on the same ride.
“This particular fair ride ruined drop towers for me. That little seatbelt was the only thing that saved me. The harness released on the drop,” she said.
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