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Playland customers aren't blaming park for recent death

The Journal News /

Original Article »

July 25, 2007

RYE - On the day the county released its report on the death of a Playland Amusement Park employee, visitors to the county-owned attraction said they did not hold the park responsible for 21-year-old Gabriella Garin's death.

"I have no problems with it (the park)," said Lorena Gomez, 39, from the Bronx, who visits Playland every weekend with her two children, Stephanie, 10, and Francisco, 8. "I think they should just close down that specific ride."

The county permanently closed the Mind Scrambler ride after Garin's death on June 29.

For 9-year-old Lauren Tierney of Bronxville, however, that might not be enough. Lauren, who was at Playland yesterday with her mother, Laura, 37, and sister, Julianne, 9, said, "It needs more, like, safety people. There's not enough people."

Brian Vinero, 35, of Manhattan, who has been to Playland several times, remarked that the workers were "rather casual here."

Vinero, who said he worked with tourists on a daily basis, added, "A lot of times people are doing things they're not supposed to. ... If you're a truck driver and you mess up, you're gonna get hurt too."

The police report, which became available only yesterday, said Garin was not seated properly and was not wearing a seat belt. It also said that multiple witnesses saw Garin "kneeling on the seat of a car, facing rearward and swaying her arms to the music when the ride began."

Carol Terra, 52, who lives in Queens, brought 10 girls to the park yesterday for her daughter's 14th birthday. Terra said that in 40 years of coming to the park, she had "never, ever had a problem or an injury."

"I feel safe," Terra continued. "I think if you abide by the rules of the rides, you're safe."

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