A teen girl was tragically killed and another was injured after they were thrown from a church carnival ride in east El Paso, Texas.
The 16-year-old teen, Samantha Aguilar, and a 15-year-old teen were thrown from a spinning ride called the Sizzler just before 7 p.m. on Friday, according to the Daily News. The older teen was hurled from the ride and collided with a metal barrier. She died later at Del Sol Medical Center from her injuries. The younger teen, taken to University Medical Center, is expected to recover from minor injuries.
Another girl was in danger of being ejected, but had hooked herself onto the safety bar to prevent herself from being flung out of the ride, reported CBS News. No other people were on the ride.
The aunt of the girl who clung to the safety bar said the girls complained that the seatbelt would not work before the ride began.
Reportedly, the ride operator said the teen girls would be alright without the seat belts.
The teen girls who were injured on the church carnival ride are students at Hanks High School, and the teen girls were at the carnival celebrating the annual Mexican holiday, Dia de los Ninos, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.
Police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said the cause of the accident was not yet known.
A witness to the chaos after the accident, China Arevalo, heard a disturbance near the concession stand where she was working.
“There was a girl on the ground, and they were doing CPR to revive her” and the girl looked like she had regained consciousness at one point in the ambulance, Arevalo said. There was a large pool of blood behind the girl’s head on the ground, Arevalo noticed.
Police closed down the carnival and sealed it off with crime scene tape as investigators from the Crimes Against Persons Unit looked over the scene. It isn’t known whether the carnival will continue operations on Saturday.
As for the teen girl who lost her life after being thrown from the carnival ride, Aguilar was remembered on her Instagram account by friends.
Aguilar was fondly remembered by her track coach, Kim Gomez. Gomez said the teen was a wonderful person.
“We loved Sam. The girls’ comments last night were, ‘She’s wonderful,’ and she is. She was very sweet and kind to everybody and a beautiful young lady. We’re devastated we’re not there for the rest of the girls.”
The ride, which threw the teen girls from their seats, is owned by Playtime Amusements Inc. in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Sizzler is a type of ride that spins riders around a center pivot while at the same time moving them around in a circle in their seats.
“There’s inspections that are required, whether or not this vendor has been up to par with that hasn’t been determined. That’ll be revealed in the investigation,” said Carillo.
Playtime Amusements Inc. was attempted to be reached by telephone and email, but so far the company has not returned calls or attempted to issue a statement.
According to KFOX14, there are about 200 of the Sizzler rides operating in the United States today, but that was according to a report done over ten years ago.
In 2014, two teens were injured after they fell from a ride named the Sidewinder. The ride was operating at a St. Anthony Seminary’s Annual Bazaar in Central El Paso, but the vendor was not the same vendor as the one who provided the ride that resulted in the teen’s death on Friday evening.
[Image via Shutterstock]