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Playland death called an accident: Killed rider not seated properly

The Journal News /

Original Article »

July 24, 2007

The 21-year-old woman who was killed at Playland Amusement Park last month was not belted or seated properly in the Mind Scrambler ride when the operator started the ride and immediately put it on full throttle, according to a preliminary report issued by Westchester County officials this afternoon.

The death of Gabriela Garin has been ruled accidental, and no criminal charges are being filed at this time, according to Thomas Belfiore, the county's public safety commissioner.

Several witnesses told investigators that Garin was kneeling on the seat of the car she was in facing backward and swaying her arms to the music when the ride began, Belfiore said. The safety bar was fastened and secured, but was not sufficient to hold Garin in the car once the ride was under way, Belfiore said.

Garin's death was the second on the ride. In 2004, 7-year-old Stephanie Dieudonne wriggled out of her seat and was thrown to the ground, where she was dragged by the ride's machinery.

The Mind Scrambler was permanently closed after Garin's death on June 29 and will be removed from the park.

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