A 14-year-old girl riding a roller coaster fell to her death, unnoticed by most of the other passengers on the ride.
A friend said the ride’s safety restraints had come loose on a sharp turn at the top of a hill.
Amusement park officials, however, said all restraints were in place at the beginning and the end of the ride, and that a lap bar could only be unlocked with a tool.
Ryan Bielby of Kansas City died late Friday while riding the Timber Wolf roller coaster at the Worlds of Fun amusement park with friends.
“Going by what some of her friends said, it appears they had just crested a hill and the car itself was making a sharp turn,” police Sgt. Jim Keane said Saturday.
The highest point on the 2-minute ride is 100 feet, but it was unclear at what point the girl fell.
A girl riding with Ryan told police that as the train crested the top of the hill, the lap bar and the seat belt came undone, Keane said.
“She claims that she herself grabbed the lap bar and that’s what kept her from leaving the car,” Keane said. “The girl said she re-attached the equipment.”
When the train returned to the boarding area, few people realized something was wrong, said John Hudacek, vice president and general manager of the park.
“Passengers in the front of the train left as if it was a normal ride cycle, and (those) behind left without saying anything. Just her friends noticed,” he said.
The park was open Saturday but the Timber Wolf will be closed indefinitely. The roller coaster, built in 1989, has 4,230 feet of track and can reach speeds up to 53 mph.
It was the first fatality at the amusement park, which opened in 1973. In 1990, 38 people were injured on the Timber Wolf when two trains collided.