SAO PAULO – A 14-year-old Brazilian girl died when she flew out of her seat at a height of 30 meters (100 feet) in a free-fall attraction at an amusement park in the Brazilian city of Vinhedo, 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Sao Paulo, authorities said.
The teenager, identified as Gabriela Yokuri Michelari, who was living in Japan and spent her vacations in Brazil with her parents, fell from the Eiffel Tower attraction, a 70-meter (230-foot) drop.
According to the Fire Department in Jundiai, the city where the girl was taken, the victim suffered a blow to the head and died before doctors had a chance to treat her.
Witnesses said that the teen, who was with her parents, Brazilians of Japanese origin, fell Friday from the mechanical attraction from a height of 30 meters (100 feet) at the instant the cushioning effect was activated to brake the fall.
Other people who rode the same attraction told reporters that apparently the security catch of the girl’s seat opened at the moment the brakes were applied and she fell through the air all the way to the ground.
The attraction, in which five people ride sitting side by side, reaches a speed of 5 meters (16 feet) per second as the free-fall hits a speed of 98 kph (61 mph).
Commissioner Alvaro Santucci Noventa Junior, who is leading the investigation, said that witnesses and amusement park employees will be questioned and the machine will be inspected to determine whether the accident was caused by human error or mechanical failure.
The Hopi Hari Amusement Park said “it is providing all possible assistance to the victim’s family and is aiding the organizations investigating the cause of the accident.”