Delbert Latham and his 6-year-old son, Kaysen, were planning on spending a fun-filled day at the Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Texas. However, what started out as an exciting father/son outing soon turned into a terrifying event that would leave them both shaken to their core.
According to WTVC, Delbert and Kaysen were riding the Mouse Trap roller coaster when their seat belt released mid-ride, hurling Kaysen into the floorboard. The incident took place during the pair’s second ride on the coaster, in the exact same seat.
“We ended up being in the exact same seat again,” Latham said. “We put the seat belt on, latched it, went to pull it tight and it had actually come undone at that time. I just thought I didn’t get it clicked in well enough. I re-clicked it and tightened it up. It was fine. There were no problems with it.”
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As the ride progressed, a malfunction occurred and the seat belt came undone. After the motion of the coaster threw Kaysen to the floor, Delbert grabbed his son and held him tight until the ride came to a stop. All the while, Delbert was filming the ride to show his wife how much fun Kaysen had been having.
“We went to hit the very first drop, and as soon as we went over, I felt the seat belt release,” Latham explained. “I guess the motion of it going down threw [Kaysen] to the bottom of the cart. That’s when I reached over to grab him. Honestly, from that part forward, I didn’t even realize that I was still videotaping it. I was just trying to make sure that he held on and that he didn’t start panicking or start trying to move or anything, because I knew that there was another drop coming up.”
When Delbert and Kaysen exited the ride, Latham informed the ride operator about what had happened, only to be informed that this had happened to other riders before.
“He stated to me that ‘Oh yeah, I’m sorry about that. That’s been happening sometimes,’ ” Latham said. “That made me more angry, obviously. I told him that’s not acceptable to know that something is messing up and still let people on a ride.”
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After visitors were repeatedly allowed back on the ride, Latham said he asked to speak to the park supervisor, and then the park manager.
“They didn’t put anybody in the seat that we were sitting in, but they still loaded the rests of the seats up and let the ride take off again,” Latham said. “In my opinion, if someone tells you the seat belt is broken, you should go ahead and just shut that part down and not let anyone on that ride.”
Following the terrifying incident, Wonderland Amusement Park issued a statement.
“Wonderland Amusement Park has taken great strides over the past 65 years to ensure the safety of our visitors at all times, therefore we were extremely concerned to hear about the experience of Mr. Latham and his six-year-old son over the weekend.
“The seat belt in the last car on the Mouse Trap roller coaster reportedly came loose creating a very scary situation for the family. Mr. Latham immediately informed the ride operator, found a member of management and reached out through a private social media message. We appreciate his diligence in quickly bringing this to our attention.”
According to the statement, the Mouse Trap roller coaster was originally built without seat belts, but the park later decided to add them as an extra safety measure. The cart with the malfunctioning seat belt was removed from the coaster, and all other seat belts were inspected. As of Saturday, the ride was fully operational.
Delbert Latham later shared the video of their ride on Facebook. To watch the video, click here.
[Image via ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com]