TAMPA, Fla. – For several visitors at the Florida State Fair Saturday, the day took a horrifying turn as they watched a young girl fall more than 35 feet from the gondola ride.
Three members of the same family, all under the age of 10, were riding the gondola across the fairgrounds around 8:40 p.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said the 7-year-old girl will make a full recovery, but for people like Rebecca Gayed, the video is a harrowing reminder of how even the slowest rides could be dangerous.
Gayed and her family were at the fair Saturday night when suddenly she heard screams.
“You can just hear, everyone is freaking out. Everyone was gasping when they saw the girl,” she said.
Paramedics rushed to the scene to get a young girl, who fell from the gondola. You can see in Gayed’s cell phone video dozens looking on in shock.
“You can just see a little girl laying down, she was basically unconscious,” Gayed said.
Officials deemed this to be an accident, but now safety is on a lot of people’s minds.
“I was just extremely surprised that they didn’t have more security measures and safety features,” Gayed said.
On these gondolas, the only safety feature is a loose-fitting lap bar
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspects all fair rides, but officials don’t believe it was a technical malfunction, so the ride was reopened Sunday.