The Short of It
A Texas teen is thrown from a carnival ride to her death, after complaining the seatbelt wouldn't fasten.
According to the International Business Times, 16-year-old Samantha Aguilar was riding "The Sizzler" with two friends, and she allegedly complained her safety belt was broken before the ride started. The unthinkable tragedy took place on Friday night in El Paso, Texas, during Dia de Los Niños, a traditional Mexican holiday that celebrates children.
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A 15-year-old friend was also allegedly thrown from the ride but only suffered minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. Only one of the three friends managed to stay seated, and she told her aunt that Aguilar was told by an operator she "would be fine without" a working belt. But once the ride started, she was "clinging on to her belt for dear life."
There is also a question whether the attraction was meant for two riders, versus three.
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An investigation is under way as to what exactly went wrong. Sgt. Enrique Carillo from the El Paso Police Department said for now, "We don't know the cause."
No matter what is ultimately discovered, the fact remains a teen is dead after simply trying to enjoy herself at a local carnival.
Aguilar's tragic story is a reminder that when something isn't working properly with a ride, you should immediately get off. As parents, if we aren't riding with our kids, it's important to warn them that no thrill is worth risking their safety, and they should listen to their instincts if something doesn't seem right.
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In fact, a dad recently filmed his son's seatbelt malfunctioning in the middle of a roller coaster ride at an amusement park in Texas. I shudder to think what would have happened had he not caught his young child and held on to him for dear life for the remainder of the ride. What's worse is that when the dad told a park worker about the issue with the seatbelt, he didn't seem to think it was that big of a deal!
The takeaway: Be an advocate for your own safety on rides and instruct your kids to think the same way.