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Women Seriously Hurt In Coney Island Accident

Mon., July 31, 1995

The Hell Hole lived up to its name.

The Coney Island thrill ride mangled a 24-year-old woman’s leg Saturday night and left 13 other people with sprains and lacerations.

The adjacent boardwalk and arcades were jammed with people sauntering in the steamy night air. Shrieks and shouts followed a thunderous boom as those waiting to enter the ride fled the steel and wood structure.

“You heard that sound, you knew something was wrong,” said Joe Englebert, who was working at a nearby stall.

Inside the ride - a large cylinder that spins so fast it pins people to its walls while the floor drops - there was “blood all over the place,” said Mark Wurzel, a spokesman for the city Consumer Affairs Department, which licenses Coney Island amusements.

The 20-year-old Hell Hole, which warns “Abandon All Hope” above its entry, passed inspection in April.

“This was very much a freak accident,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Fred Cerullo.

It happened when one of several steel bands encircling the cylinder snapped, ripping open the barrel, officials said. Most of the injuries occurred when people tumbled to the floor after an operator hit the emergency stop button.

Rider Lourdes Gonzalez got tangled up in the wreckage where the barrel gave way, battered by loose beams that broke her leg in several places and chewed her flesh, Wurzel said.

She was in serious but stable condition on Sunday.

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