A man has been killed after plunging 60ft to the ground from a theme park ride in Utah.
The 32-year-old's final moments were captured by a stunned fellow rider who passed him while he was clinging to the outside — and nobody knows how or why he ended up there.
The incident happened on Saturday evening at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington; Lucy Grace Astilla was aboard the Sky Ride — a two-seater cable car that ferries passengers from one end of the park to the other — with her husband, and was filming the views on her cellphone... when she witnessed something that shocked her.
A lone male passenger, passing in the opposite direction, was fully outside the cable car, facing backwards, hanging by his fingertips to the safety bar.
"I thought it was a stunt, or he is a gymnast practicing for American Ninja Warrior, rehearsing," Astilla told Gephardt Daily, "but then I noticed he didn't have any equipment that would save him from a fall."
Indeed, the man didn't appear panicked at all. He wasn't calling for help, and his demeanor seemed perfectly calm.
#15Ago Un hombre resultó herido el sábado por la noche cuando se cayó de un paseo en Lagoon. El video enviado a FOX 13 muestra al hombre colgado del Sky Ride mientras cruzaba un área del parque. Se podía ver a la gente debajo del viaje mirando hacia arriba y gritando. 🎥✍️ @fox13pic.twitter.com/4FU3ktSK5w
As Astilla's car travelled slowly toward the operator, she called out and asked them to stop the ride, telling them a passenger was hanging out of one of the cars. That's when she heard a crowd of people scream in the distance behind her.
"We were by the roller coaster, so I think maybe it was for that, but it wasn't," she said. "The screaming was because the man fell."
She walked back in the direction of the commotion to find a large crowd had gathered beneath the ride. Bystanders were trying to help the victim, while first responders arrived on the scene quickly afterward.
"People called 911. It was all so quick," she said.
The man was flown via helicopter to University of Utah Hospital; but on Monday Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen confirmed he had died from his injuries.
Investigators have not released the victim's name; however they said the fall was not intentional.
Astilla said she decided to share the footage after hearing a news report that claimed the ride had malfunctioned, which she said was not the case.
"I didn't think that was fair, and I just wanted to prove to them that there's no malfunction," she said.
She said she has been haunted by the incident ever since, wondering what would have happened if he hadn't ridden alone, or if anything at all could have been done to save him.
She also feels awful for the witnesses who were below, especially the young children.
"From that time, I have had no good sleep," she said. "I'm still having a traumatic experience, but I think I can manage."
Lagoon spokesman Adam Leishman told Fox 13 that the ride was examined, and no malfunctions were found. He said safety information is printed and conveyed via audio to riders, and that the ride has a flawless safety record dating back almost half a century.
"The Sky Ride has operated without incident since 1974," he said.