Man catches teen falling from park ride: 'It's OK to let go'

After the girl manages to wriggle her neck free from the safety bar, the crowd tells her to let go, yelling that they will catch her.

Matthew Howard Sr. was just leaving a NY amusement park Saturday evening with his family when he heard someone screaming for help.

As CNN reports, the teenager, from Greenwood, Delaware, fell from Sky Ride, a slow, "gondola-style attraction" at The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Queensbury. A crowd of onlookers gathered, many filming, others calling for help.

Eventually they made a decision to form a buffer with their arms, promising the girl that if she fell they would catch her as she quickly began to lose grip.

"And I grabbed her and in the video I see my daughter grabbing her from here", Howard said.

In front of dozens of witnesses, the girl screamed as she dangled from the chairlift's railing while staff and visitors raced to catch her. The two took the brunt of the girl's fall, collapsing to the ground themselves. They and others carried her to where emergency workers later arrived to help her.

Howard was also briefly hospitalized for a back injury.

"I couldn't let that little girl die", Mr Howard told the Associated Press on Sunday.

"No-one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn't stand by and watch".

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The girl was not seriously injured and was in stable condition Sunday morning at the Albany Medical Center, the Warren County Sheriff's Office said.

Ms Winchell, who is applying to be a nurse, said she and her father had visited the girl on Sunday at the hospital and she was in good spirits.

"As my dad went down I held her up and passed her along", Winchell said.

The girl, from DE, was in one of the ride's two-person cars with her younger brother.

"I'm just glad we could be there to help", Ms Winchell said. "We were in the right place at the right time".

Generally speaking, amusement parks can be sued for negligence, including failing to maintain equipment, failing to warn riders of risks, failing to train the operators of rides, and providing incorrect instructions to riders.

Officials inspected the ride and said it was in proper working order.

In one video taken of the scene and posted on Facebook, one of the people can be heard shouting: 'We'll catch you, honey'.

After the incident investigators assisted by park personnel inspected the ride and the vehicle the teen girl had used and discovered that everything was in proper working order. "The safety and security of our guests is our top priority and our thoughts and prayers are with our guest and her family".

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