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Current Page: Entertainment | Sunday, July 15, 2007
Girl Dies After Falling from Ride at Lifest

Girl Dies After Falling from Ride at Lifest

A girl who looked to be in her mid-teens died Saturday after falling more than 40 feet from a bungee-like amusement ride at Lifest 2007.

The victim, whose name and age was not immediately released by police, was pronounced dead at a local hospital in Oshkosh, Wis., several hours after the accident.

Oshkosh Police Sgt. Todd Wrage said few details were available Saturday night.

"What we do know, from the reports we've gotten, is that she apparently fell 40 to 50 feet," Wrage said, according to The Associated Press.

Workers at the annual Christian music festival shut down the Air Glory ride after the accident, which occurred about 4:45 p.m. A prayer service was held at 7 p.m.

"We're taking it really seriously. It doesn't feel very festive right now," said Wes Halula, director of communications for Life! Promotions, according to the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper. Life! Promotions organizes the annual Lifest.

"We saw the Air Glory thing with a wire hanging loose off of it and a bunch people around a little girl," Oshkosh resident Rachel Kohn, 17, told the Northwestern. "Everyone was just in shock."

Kohn said the injured girl appeared to be in her mid-teens.

Air Glory makes "grown men scream like little girls," according to the Lifest Web site, which says the ride begins by launching two to three people almost 100 feet in the air.

"Then when you are overcome with total madness, you will pull your own rip-cord launching the 2 or 3 of you into a freefall glide to earth with the force of 3 1/2 G's (This is where the screaming comes in)," the description reads.

Brian Childers of Kenosha was in line for the ride and witnessed the fall.

Two people went up in the ride, and when they pulled the release Childers heard a snapping sound. He said one person fell and the other remained swinging in the ride.

"[The person] hit the ground and she was not moving at all," Childers told the Northwestern.

An inspector from the state Department of Commerce, which oversees amusement rides in Wisconsin, was expected to be in Oshkosh Sunday to inspect the ride.

The ride was closed for the remainder of the festival, which resumed 7:30 p.m. Saturday and ended Sunday afternoon at the Sunnyview Expo Center grounds.

This year's Lifest brought together over 150 of top names in Christian music and comedy, including Casting Crowns, Third Day, Newsboys, tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, Pillar, Skillet, Jars of Clay, David Crowder Band, Family Force Five, Barlow Girl, and Aaron Shust. Event organizers say there may have been up to 18,000 people at Lifest when the accident happened Saturday.

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