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Death at San Bernardino County Fair Free Drop Attraction


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VICTORVILLE (CBSLA.com) — A Navy veteran died Friday after falling 36 feet off a new attraction at the San Bernardino County Fair.

Sabrina Gordon, of Hesperia, fell Thursday night from the FreeDrop USA at the fairgrounds on 7th Street near Desert Knoll Drive in Victorville.

Witnesses told the Victor Valley News, the woman in her 30s went to jump and then hesitated.

She grabbed the sidebar and an employee reached to pull her in, but Gordon let go and plunged to the ground.

She was taken to a local hospital where she died around midnight, according to her father Lyle Bell.

 

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Edited by robbalvey
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I found video of attraction from the Maricopa fair back in April.

 

hmmm. . it doesn't look that extreme. Wonder what went wrong?

 

[youtu_be]

[/youtu_be]
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http://www.vvng.com/woman-falls-36-feet-from-san-bernardino-county-fair-attraction/

 

Here news article from VVNG.COM

 

VICTORVILLE-(VVNG.com): At approximately 8:00 P.M., on Thursday, May 28, 2015 as thrill-seekers at the San Bernardino County fair waited in line for the attraction known as the “Free Drop,” a woman, approximately 30-years of age, walked up for her turn and prepared to make her jump from the newest attraction at the Fair.

According to on-scene witnesses, the woman went to jump then looked as if she changed her mind and grabbed the sidebar. Her body swung, hit the scaffolding then hit the pavement below landing on the front side of her body.

“The [employee] reached out to grab her, but she let go and fell to the ground,” described Shannon Waldron, who was waiting for her husband and son who were in line preparing for their jump.

CPR was administered to the unconscious woman, but she was still unresponsive as she was transferred into the ambulance.

Per scanner traffic, the woman was transported to Victor Valley Global Medical Center via ground ambulance, then later airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where she remains in critical condition with life threatening injuries.

Free Drop is a brand new attraction at the San Bernardino County Fair for 2015. The extreme ride is like bungee jumping but without a cord, harness, or wires. Those who dare take the challenge climb on top of a 36-foot-high plat form and free fall onto a large air-filled pillow.

Victor Valley News attempted to contact fair officials for a statement but were unable to reach anyone. There is no further information at this time.

 

 

http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20150529/NEWS/150529717

 

Here news article from victorville daily press

 

Posted May. 29, 2015 at 1:11 PM

 

VICTORVILLE — The investigation into the death of a Hesperia woman who jumped or fell from the FreeDrop USA attraction at the San Bernardino County Fair is being led by San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, fair CEO and General Manager Geoff Hinds said Friday.

The incident was reported to CalOSHA's Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit, Hinds said, and officials from that office are determining who will investigate the safety aspects of the attraction. CalOSHA, or the Division of Occupational Safety and Health under the Department of Industrial Relations, is the state agency responsible for regulating amusement rides and aspects of workplace safety.

Thirty-one-year-old Sabrina Gordon, of Hesperia, died after she fell from the middle platform of the FreeDrop attraction on Thursday night.

"All accidents involving the public resulting in a fatality, dismembering or disabling injury, or accidents resulting in major damage to a ride must be reported to the Division's San Francisco or Los Angeles office within 24 hours of occurrence," DIR says under regulations for General Mobile Equipment and Auxiliaries regarding amusement rides.

"Safety is our top priority at the fair," Hinds said, and management was satisfied the attraction had an acceptable safety record. FreeDrop USA is a non-mechanical attraction where participants jump from the top of a scaffolding-type structure onto a large air pillow. FD Event Co. LLC owns and operates the attraction, which was making its California debut at the county fair.

“We have had over 50,000 successful jumps across multiple states during a recent 36-city tour," owner Aspen Decker said in a statement. "We are proud of our safety record and conduct thorough safety training with each of our employees as well as every participant."

It is unclear whether the attraction was blamed for previous injuries.

"This is the first incident," Hinds said. The local fair itself, in its 68 years, had not previously reported a fatality or serious injury, he said.

The FreeDrop attraction will be "closed indefinitely" for the death investigation, Hinds said. The fair ends Sunday.

Angela Berry, promotional director for the Central Wyoming Fair & Rodeo, told the Daily Press on Friday that she had just received word about the Free Drop incident in Victorville through the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

“At this point, it’s just too early to say what our plans are for the Free Drop attraction this summer,” Berry said. “We still need to evaluate everything.”

Berry said a Free Drop representative contacted Wyoming Fair officials about setting up the attraction for the first time during the nine-day fair in Casper, which begins July3.

“They sent us information and video testimonies about the attraction,” Berry said. “It sounded like a good deal — they get the space and we get the visitors.”

Staff Writer Rene Ray De La Cruz contributed to this story.

Gary Brodeur may be contacted at 760-951-6245 or gbrodeur@vvdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_gbrodeur.

Edited by berryfarm
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hmmm. . it doesn't look that extreme. Wonder what went wrong?

 

What's sad about this accident is IMO is falls more on "user error." This is one of those rides that in order to participate you HAVE to not be afraid of heights and be willing to basically "jump off a building." I've been on this attraction many times before at IAAPA and I'm guessing this is exactly what happened here...

freedrop.jpg.944cec4841d278c112836b98f6f3e254.jpg

The woman freaked out while running off the platform, grabbed the metal bar where you see the arrow, and instead of falling into the bag, she probably fell to the ground because as she grabbed the bar, it caused her to lose enough momentum to where she just looped around the bar falling straight down.

 

I really hope the company can pull through this, because I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ride itself. There is no real failsafe to someone "freaking out at the last minute and doing something that would cause their own death."

 

Don't mean to sound harsh in this incident, but I'm not exactly sure I'd put blame on the attraction itself because operated like it should be, and with the riders following the directions, it's completely safe.

Edited by robbalvey
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I let Kristen do this attraction because there's nothing really wrong with the attraction but I explained to her she either had to go for it, or not at all. I've seen people hit themselves on the platform because they freak out and stop halfway through their jump.

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This is of course horrific news and thoughts and best wishes go out to the family.

 

The following is all speculation. I have no involvement with the device, nor have I ever even seen it. That said, it all seems to follow clearly from the pictures and video.

 

The attraction looks terribly and negligently designed in my view. You jump from a point that is directly above the support structure, thus you must actually manage to jump outwards to reach the safe area of the pillow. It appears that if you fall straight down from the jump point, you would land in an area either at the very edge of, or completely off of, the pillow. A nervous jumper who had second thoughts just as he/she started jumping could easily, it seems to me, encounter such a fatal landing.

 

I like the attraction concept but I would design it entirely differently. I would have a cantilevered jump platform with a fixed bar above it. A harnessed operator, connected to the bar, would escort harnessed guests, also connected to the bar, to the edge of the platform. The pillow should be centered just beyond this point, and sufficiently large that a jump or fall in any direction, from the end of the platform, would be safely caught. The operator could then safely disconnect the guest's harnessing apparatus and the guest could safely jump from the platform, no matter how badly they butcher the trajectory.

 

This would of course make the attraction more expensive to manufacture and significantly slower to run. Which are necessary tradeoffs for safety's sake, as anything short of such precautions is unforgivably dangerous in design.

 

(added after seeing Robb's post):

I really hope the company can pull through this, because I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ride itself. There is no real failsafe to someone "freaking out at the last minute and doing something that would cause their own death."

I think that lack of failsafe is exactly what is wrong with the ride itself. There are ways to design the apparatus so that this failsafe is there. Freaking out is part of using amusement attractions. There is stress involved, especially among people not used to traveling all over for different rides and thrills. You can't expect everyone to behave in perfectly rational ways when under such stress. People bite off more than they can chew on rides all the time, or get egged on to ride by friend/family. It's the job the ride design to take this into account and make the experience safe. The device should not allow a person who suddenly becomes freaked out to accidently kill themselves.

Edited by ejot
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Just like in sports or really anything, hesitation will cause more mistakes than anything you have to commit and be confident.

 

I feel bad for the woman and her family but I'm in the camp of this was an unfortunate accident caused by user error.

 

I've never even seen one of these. Robb, could they put some kind of netting or bags to the sides of the tower to prevent that scenario?

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Very terrible that this happened.

 

And maybe it's just because it's on video, but the attraction really doesn't look that crazy. Basically a 35 foot jump into a big air bag. I think I've jumped off higher rocks into water at lakes and rivers and what not (which you have to be much, much more careful if you do jump into water from rocks).

 

And as SharkTums mentioned and is very right: this, much like jumping off high rocks into lakes, is one of those things where either you make up your mind and go all out, or you don't go at all. There's no half-way jumps or changing your mind at the last second. Looks like that's what happened here.

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The following is all speculation. I have no involvement with the device, nor have I ever even seen it.

 

And this is exactly why you have no business even responding because everything you said after this statement is pure garbage. If you have NO CLUE AT ALL what you are talking about, please spare the rest of us and don't talk.

 

Thank you.

Edited by robbalvey
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I've never even seen one of these. Robb, could they put some kind of netting or bags to the sides of the tower to prevent that scenario?

Sure. I guess. I mean, you can make anything as "idiot proof" as possible, but then natural selection tells us that the world will just create a bigger idiot. And that's the sad reality of why we can't have nice things.

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Sad to hear that this happened, but it sounds like she shouldn't have done this attraction as from what I read, the accident came from her not committing to the jump and undershooting. I know from experience with cliff jumping that if you don't fully commit, then you are far more likely to miss the water and injure or kill yourself in this way, and sadly, that seems to be what happened here.

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Sad to hear that this happened, but it sounds like she shouldn't have done this attraction as from what I read, the accident came from her not committing to the jump and undershooting. I know from experience with cliff jumping that if you don't fully commit, then you are far more likely to miss the water and injure or kill yourself in this way, and sadly, that seems to be what happened here.

 

EXACTLY!

 

Not everything in life has or needs a fail safe!

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It doesn't but I have a feeling from now on it will be required for this type of attraction to continue. I just hope they don't find anyone else besides the lady responsible for the accident because those fail safes were not in place. The story seems to paint a pretty clear picture on her death being caused by her not following the procedure for the attraction.

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Sad to hear that this happened, but it sounds like she shouldn't have done this attraction as from what I read, the accident came from her not committing to the jump and undershooting. I know from experience with cliff jumping that if you don't fully commit, then you are far more likely to miss the water and injure or kill yourself in this way, and sadly, that seems to be what happened here.

Agree. And as Robb already said there is not much you can do to prevent situations like this when the riders freak out or something similar.

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I have to say I am astounded and disappointed by many of the responses I've read here. ejot, your post was thoughtful and well-put, and gets to the heart of the matter. Yes, it seems very likely that the woman made mistakes which lead to her death. But the idea that her culpability overrides the designer's responsibility to create a safe ride is misguided and goes against the most basic tenets of engineering. A car which kills people in 25 mph crashes is a badly designed car, regardless of whether the person behind the wheel was at fault.

 

Blaming the woman for a bad decision in a moment of fear misses the point: this was a predictable user error with multiple viable solutions, and it was the designer's job to foresee this issue and implement those solutions. Failing to install netting or extend the platform, two low-cost measures which likely would have saved this woman's life, was poor engineering.

 

Dismissing these solutions without reason and suggesting that they would only lead to "bigger idiots" is even more disturbing. Beyond being incredibly disrespectful to the woman killed (and showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the theory of natural selection), this statement endorses a standard which would abdicate every engineer and corporation of their responsibility to practice ethical engineering. Seat belts in cars, after all, only serve to "idiot proof" them from people who are stupid enough to get in car crashes.

 

I'm all for personal responsibility and understanding ones limits. But the standards being demanded by many of the posts here are harsh and unforgiving, and none of us are so infallible that we should hold others to them.

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This is of course horrific news and thoughts and best wishes go out to the family.

 

The following is all speculation. I have no involvement with the device, nor have I ever even seen it. That said, it all seems to follow clearly from the pictures and video.

 

The attraction looks terribly and negligently designed in my view. You jump from a point that is directly above the support structure, thus you must actually manage to jump outwards to reach the safe area of the pillow. It appears that if you fall straight down from the jump point, you would land in an area either at the very edge of, or completely off of, the pillow. A nervous jumper who had second thoughts just as he/she started jumping could easily, it seems to me, encounter such a fatal landing.

 

I like the attraction concept but I would design it entirely differently. I would have a cantilevered jump platform with a fixed bar above it. A harnessed operator, connected to the bar, would escort harnessed guests, also connected to the bar, to the edge of the platform. The pillow should be centered just beyond this point, and sufficiently large that a jump or fall in any direction, from the end of the platform, would be safely caught. The operator could then safely disconnect the guest's harnessing apparatus and the guest could safely jump from the platform, no matter how badly they butcher the trajectory.

 

This would of course make the attraction more expensive to manufacture and significantly slower to run. Which are necessary tradeoffs for safety's sake, as anything short of such precautions is unforgivably dangerous in design.

 

(added after seeing Robb's post):

I really hope the company can pull through this, because I'm not sure there is anything wrong with the ride itself. There is no real failsafe to someone "freaking out at the last minute and doing something that would cause their own death."

I think that lack of failsafe is exactly what is wrong with the ride itself. There are ways to design the apparatus so that this failsafe is there. Freaking out is part of using amusement attractions. There is stress involved, especially among people not used to traveling all over for different rides and thrills. You can't expect everyone to behave in perfectly rational ways when under such stress. People bite off more than they can chew on rides all the time, or get egged on to ride by friend/family. It's the job the ride design to take this into account and make the experience safe. The device should not allow a person who suddenly becomes freaked out to accidently kill themselves.

 

I completely agree with everything you stated in your post. With a ride like this, you HAVE to anticipate that someone might get scared/panicked at the last minute and resist the jump. This is a natural human fear response. This woman did not have to die if this ride was built properly to account for this. Total fail on the ride manufactures part - no question about that in my mind.

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If you have to have a disclosure for your ride, that you might die if you "don't jump far enough" then the ride shouldn't be in existence and certainly doesn't belong at a fair. She wasnt on a BASE jumping excursion for goodness sake (where great risk is implied), she was at a FAIR!! Come on guys - the insensitivity in here is palpable..

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It doesn't but I have a feeling from now on it will be required for this type of attraction to continue. I

 

But the idea that her culpability overrides the designer's responsibility to create a safe ride is misguided and goes against the most basic tenets of engineering.

 

With a ride like this, you HAVE to anticipate that someone might get scared/panicked at the last minute and resist the jump. This is a natural human fear response. This woman did not have to die if this ride was built properly to account for this.

 

I'm going to make the assumptions that NONE of you have ever been on this attraction. And if so, I think it completely sucks that you all would base your ideas on pure "speculation" and lack of any sort of real knowledge instead of actually listening to those who have not only been on this attraction, several times, including several different variations of it, but has also worked with rides and ride manufacturers most of their lives.

 

And that's fine. You can continue to be wrong. And I will continue to roll my eyes at you.

Edited by robbalvey
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I already said I haven't been on or by one and asked your thoughts on this earlier in the thread. I guess it's not a fair assumption that some sort of extra safety will be implemented after this? I don't believe they look dangerous or sound dangerous especially after reading about them, but I also don't think it's crazy that they would come up with something extra to attempt to completely eliminate this possibility in the future to cover their own ass.

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^ I thought I already addressed this type of question. Like I said, this isn't the type of attraction where any additional fail safe is needed because there isn't anything really wrong with it currently. If you try to make it more idiot proof I'm sure that humanity will produce a bigger idiot. What this woman did was a freak accident caused by her own doing. If an attraction like this was really unsafe people would be falling left and right because after all it's a "natural human reaction" right? And that isn't happening so I'm not sure you can really fault the ride.

Edited by robbalvey
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