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Author Topic: Boy, 6, falls from ferris wheel
Bettie Page Turner
Happy Holly Days


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Who in their right mind puts a 6 year old on a ferris wheel alone?

quote:
STOCKTON, California (AP) -- A 6-year-old boy plunged 90 feet to his death from the top of a Ferris wheel while his mother watched from below at the San Joaquin County Fair, authorities said.

Ruben Castillo was riding alone in his gondola, which was near the top of the 100-foot Giant Wheel when he fell Sunday afternoon, authorities said.He was pronounced dead at a hospital.



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Little Pink Pill
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I'm torn between frustration at the mother and profound sympathy. That poor woman. Now she not only has to live with the loss, the memory and the personal implications, she also has to live with the public's opinion of her.

I can't see the video of her explaination. What does she say?

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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She says pretty much that they should have had locks on the doors and that the ride operator never should have let her son ride alone and that something needs to be done to stop this from ever happending again.

Beach..sarcastic comment withheld...Life!

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Wild Card
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She blames the ride operator, explaining that she wanted him to go on a gondola with "more people."

Her interview is not so much an explanation as it is a declaration that the rides need to be changed.

ETA: spanked by BeachLife.

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guruwan2b
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I'm sorry about the boy, but I would never have put one of my kids on a ride like that alone at 6 years old.
When the driver wouldn't put him in with other people, she should have pulled the boy off.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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If she wanted her son not to be alone in his gondola, why the hell didn't she go on the ride with him herself?

Nonny

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abigsmurf
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ah I can imagine it, you're with your friends, you've being queueing with your girlfriend for an hour, looking forward to a romantic ride with her....

Then the ride operator puts an unaccompanied 6 year old in your gondola. Very few people would want someone elses kid in the ride with them the mother must've known the kid would probably be riding alone.

Whilst it shouldn't be possible to easily open a ferris wheel door mid-ride. The fact is the mother herself shouldn't have let the kid go on alone.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Thanks BeachLife and Wild Card. Sheesh, I thought maybe she would be penitent. Well, yeah, I thought it was dangerous to let him go that way but they shouldn't have let me? What kind of argument is that?

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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MissEltoe
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Well, according to the article, the little boy met the requirements to ride, so I wouldn't argue that she shouldn't have let him go on the ride at 6.

I don't, however, understand why she says he should have not been on the ride alone if she wasn't willing to get on it with him. [Confused]

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Pondicherry Pi
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quote:
Originally posted by MissE:
Well, according to the article, the little boy met the requirements to ride, so I wouldn't argue that she shouldn't have let him go on the ride at 6.

I don't, however, understand why she says he should have not been on the ride alone if she wasn't willing to get on it with him. [Confused]

Well, it's possible that he really, really wanted to ride and the mother, like me, refuses to set foot in a Ferris Wheel.

::shudder:: Those things scare the crud out of me and stories like this don't help.

Of course, given how irrational my fear of the Ferris Wheel is, I don't think I'd let a child of mine ride the thing unless someone else took him to the park while I stayed happily at home.

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Auntie Witch
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I don't know, if there were a lot of people wanting on the ride, and the mother for some reason couldn't/wouldn't go on with him, is it that unreasonable to expect that he'd be in a gondola with other people? I've NEVER ridden on a ride by myself, even when I was by myself. If the line was long and mom sent the kid through, she may not have seen that he was alone.

I feel sorry for her. It's a terrible thing to lose a child and then get blamed for it, I'm sure.

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Singing in the Drizzle
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This why my friend took me along when going a amusment parks. He has motion sickness problems and did not want his daughter on rides alone. So he get me to ride (not hard to do) with his daughter while he stands at the bottom and waves.

Now the the daughter is old enough to go alone and now has a wife. It now my job to go with his wife on the rides because she hates to go alone. He still waits below and waves.

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hoitoider
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Language Barrier May Have Played Role In Ferris Wheel Death

"...Sophia Castillo says she screamed at the operator of the Ferris wheel to bring her son's car to the bottom but because he didn't speak English, he didn't understand her.

"She watched her son -- Ruben -- dangle for about 40 seconds before he fell 90 feet to his death."

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Sorry, out of respect for the women's pains I've tried to remain silent. But letting your six year old go on a ride absolutely unaccompanied is the problem.

It's not that Ferris Wheels need to strap people in or lock them down like inmates in a maximum security prison. It's not that ride operators should be better trained to force other riders to be responsible for unaccompained six year olds. And it's not that operators don't speak english well enough. Maybe those things would have saved this kids life, and if telephone poles were made out of licorice it would save a few lives in car accidents each year.

There is a point at which we as parents need to safeguard our childrens lives. She should have ridden with the child, found somebody that would, or told the child he couldn't ride the ride. That's how parenting works. We as parents just don't assume that if other people allow something our child must be safe.

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DawnStorm
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quote:
Originally posted by Pondicherry Pi:
[Well, it's possible that he really, really wanted to ride and the mother, like me, refuses to set foot in a Ferris Wheel.


My mother hated rides too, but I loved the Ferris wheel when I was a kid and guess who always rode with me.

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Sorry, out of respect for the women's pains I've tried to remain silent. But letting your six year old go on a ride absolutely unaccompanied is the problem.

It's not that Ferris Wheels need to strap people in or lock them down like inmates in a maximum security prison. It's not that ride operators should be better trained to force other riders to be responsible for unaccompained six year olds. And it's not that operators don't speak english well enough. Maybe those things would have saved this kids life, and if telephone poles were made out of licorice it would save a few lives in car accidents each year.

There is a point at which we as parents need to safeguard our childrens lives. She should have ridden with the child, found somebody that would, or told the child he couldn't ride the ride. That's how parenting works. We as parents just don't assume that if other people allow something our child must be safe.

I agree, but would add that reporters should wait a month to interview berieved parents. (I know it won't happen). People say ridiculous things, rationalize away guilt, and lash out irrationally, when they are in a fresh state of grief. Of course this woman is trying to blame the operator, the ride designer, and probably others, she is trying to avoid the horror of facing her failure to protect her child.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis:
...I agree, but would add that reporters should wait a month to interview berieved parents. (I know it won't happen). People say ridiculous things, rationalize away guilt, and lash out irrationally, when they are in a fresh state of grief. Of course this woman is trying to blame the operator, the ride designer, and probably others, she is trying to avoid the horror of facing her failure to protect her child.

I agree, though I would probably be much more likely to punch a reporter who asked for an interview rather than talking to them.

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Chimera
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Count me in as another one who gets the crud scared out of me by ferris wheels. While I've never let my boy ride one alone (I usually get an adult friend of mine to ride with him) I can see the logic in it. I am afraid I'll do my child more harm than good when it comes to ski lifts, sky buckets, ferris wheels, ect. I have pretty bad break downs and end up clinging on to him and crying. I don't want to pass my irrational fears onto the boy (although he seems to think its funny).

I won't even go through most haunted attractions with the kid because I get overly startled. Sometimes I get a friend to take him through but other times I let him go through alone (I sometimes work such places, the midway not the attraction, and I know the employees. I'll ask them to keep an eye on the kid.). Its not exactly the same thing but I'm sure it would look really bad for me if something ever happened to the boy. I know I'm a little chicken shit for not participating but I don't want him to share my fears.

Also at fairs you are often paying several dollars per person, per ride. I can see that a parent might think they were doing the kid a favour by letting them ride alone. If they have limited funds then the child can have more "fun" if they go alone.

Not everyone is informed about the nature or the ride recommendation. When my kid was almost 2 years old I took him on a Tilt-a-Whirl. It wasn't until later that I found out that the ride recomendations were 6 years old and something like 40 inches tall (it was not posted at the ride, I later looked it up after my mom got upset by the fact). The ride attendents were letting other little ones on and said it was ok for my kid to ride (I went out of my way to ask them). Luckily nothing bad happened (aside from my kid saying "not fun" at the end of the ride) but how was I to know? (Well actually after the ride started, I rode with my boy, I did have second thoughts about it. I forgot how bad that ride can be.) My kid was a premie and I try to stradle between over protective and letting the boy live a normal life... sometimes I make the wrong choice.

I would also not expect the kid to ride alone at a fair. They usually try to stuff as many people as posible on all the rides. Although while I wouldn't trust strangers to watch my boy, I would be shocked if I found out that he rode a ride alone. Fairs often set higher requirements than amusement parks or ride recommendations. I think its to help with crowd control on the popular rides and to disperse the crowds a bit. If a fair let my kid on a ride I would think it would be more than age appropriate.

BTW, it didn't say in the article but did the kid actually open the door to the ride? I can see a lot of ways to go under or over it but aren't most latched from the outside (where a kid that young would have a problem finding/reaching it) or with a arc key of some kind (a little metal thing that's required to undue the latch)?

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happyholidaysfrog
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While I agree the mother should have known better, I don't think that that absolves the responsibility that the makers, owners and operators of the ride have to reasonably ensure the safety of the riders. I don't think they did so in the case of that boy.

If the only safety precaution was passing a height requirement (no restraints, open car that can be gotten out of easily, child put alone in a car) I think that they are culpable for the childs death. The mother in a video on CNN.com said they thought the child would be put in a seat with other people (it wasn't a traditional ferris wheel type seats, they were big round gondola things that looked like they could seat 6-8 people easily). She was suprised and unhappy when she saw they put him by himself.

A ride where there are no restraints, there are open areas that one can get out of the vehicle and the vheicle is going 90-100 feet in the air is not safe to put a small child alone in, and yes, the mother should have known this, but for too many parents they DON'T do their jobs and think "well, if they allow kids that age on to it then it must be safe". Safety regulations should keep the rides safe even if the parents arn't doing their job. The worst that should come from a parent making a bad choice in letting their child ride a ride that they are told is safe is a scared child who vows not to ride that agian.


I think that for that ride, they should have had a rule that children under a certain age(12 maybe) cannot ride alone. Or else they should have made those cars so a child could not fall out at all.

I think the mother should have been more careful, but I don't think that absolves the responsibilty of the other people involved (the operator who put the child alone, the lack of safety regulations regarding small children riding alone, the abilty to get out of the car before the ride operators open the door).

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snoozn
Deck the Malls


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As the mother of a 6-yr old boy this story makes my heart hurt. I am really torn between saying "how on earth could a mother put her child in a potentially dangerous situation like that?" and saying "that poor woman...she made a poor decision, as we all do from time to time and now her child is dead".

I agree with happyfrog that yes she is responsible, but so are the folks associated with the ride. When we were recently at Universal Studios, I noticed the kiddy roller coaster had a rule that kids under a certain height needed to have a bigger person ride with them. I'm sure that rule is to prevent situations like this one. A ferris wheel that goes that high should certainly be designed so that a kid can't fall out or open it from the inside.

I also think that doing an interview (I didn't see it) with the mother seems really tasteless.

I guess all in all my sympathy for the mother is bigger than my anger at her. I cannot imagine her pain.

snoozn

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mags
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If he had been put in with other people, and he still climbed out, then it would have been those people's fault too, clearly. It is always up to people other than the parent to make decisions respecting their child's safety, and strangers to take responsibility for the safety of random children if their parents aren't present. Isn't it? And if his mother had been in the gondola with him (as she should have - if it was too scary for her, clearly it will be too scary for her son), and he still climbed out, it would still have been the fault of the ride operator, the ride maker, the ride owner, and the county.

It sickens me to think it, but I have a strong feeling this was done on purpose, with the intention of receiving a large lawsuit settlement. The accusation of a language problem is what points me in that direction. There is a lot of animosity toward illegal immigrants currently, and thus (wrongfully) anyone who speaks only Spanish, that will cause for sympathy toward this mother from a jury, right? As if someone needs to speak English to understand a frightened woman running up and pointing at her dangling son. That would have been enough to let him know the problem, but I doubt him even realizing the boy was outside his gondola would have been enough to save him.

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snoozn
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quote:
Originally posted by mags:
....It sickens me to think it, but I have a strong feeling this was done on purpose, with the intention of receiving a large lawsuit settlement..

I hope I'm misundestanding you here, but it seems as if you're implying that the woman saw the ride operater spoke no English and said to herself "Here's my big chance, I'll rig the ferris wheel door to open, tell my kid that he's supposed to open the door and climb out at the top, and then make sure he rides alone so there's no one else to blame. And then I'll be rich rich rich!" Now that would be ridiculous, so hopefully I'm misunderstanding.

I don't know why it's so hard to accept that responsibility can be spread around to a certain extent. This boy's death happened because a number of things went wrong. The mother (who presumably had the strongest motivation to keep the boy safe) used very poor judgment and of course she bears much (probably most) of the responsibility. But the ride operator also used poor judgment. However I think he has the least (if any) responsibility because it seems he did follow the rules as set down. I don't know if his seeing what was happening earlier would have made a difference or not. I do think there was a problem with the fact that the boy was able to open the door. This would seem to be due to poor design, poor maintenance, or operator error. It also seems reasonable to have a rule that children under a certain age (maybe 10 or 12) have to ride with an older person. I cannot imagine letting my six-year-old go alone on any type of amusement ride. Not only do I with him, but I keep a hand or arm on him if it's a dark ride just to be sure. I wish all parents felt this way, but I also think we owe to all kids to try to keep them safe, especially when it's not very hard to do so.

I also have to add that I do feel for the fact that this woman's mistake has become so public. I know I have made mistakes as a parent. One time my daugher got out of the house and I didn't realize it for about ten or fifteen minutes. I was running around ready to call 911 on my cell phone when I heard her across the street at our neighbor's house. We live at the end of a cul de sac so she wasn't in much danger, but still it could have happened in a more dangerous place, or there could have been a car coming. I'm sure kids die every day from some stupid mistake their parent made but it doesn't usually make the national news.

snoozn

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Franny
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quote:
I'm sure kids die every day from some stupid mistake their parent made but it doesn't usually make the national news.
Originaly posted by Snoozn

I think this is the best statement made yet in this topic.

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jolhojo
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I am a single mother and my two youngest children visit with their father on weekends. One weekend they went to the carnival and he allowed our daughter and her friend, whom are both 7 years old, to ride the ferris wheel without adult supervision. He was in the next cart. This upsets me, because I am very protective of my children and cringe at the thought of something happening to them, like what happened to this poor boy! The ferris wheel my daughter rode on is an open cart with no restraints which allows people to stand and walk around the cart while the ride is in motion! It is horrible that nothing has been done to make this ride safer! It makes me mad that my ex/bf is so careless and is allowed to get away with his lack of instinct to keep our children safe!
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jolhojo
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One more thing... It is the parents responsibility to keep their children safe, not the responsibility of anyone else.
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Johnny Slick
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quote:
Originally posted by mags:
It sickens me to think it, but I have a strong feeling this was done on purpose, with the intention of receiving a large lawsuit settlement.

Oh yeah, absolutely. When I think "megacorporation with millions to spare", I instantly think of carnies. They go hand in hand, like... two hands.

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LemonLimeade
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When my kids were little I never let them on those types of rides alone - the Ferris Wheel is the worst because they mostly aren't enclosed and you're not strapped in. I was more likely to let one of them ride something a lot more scary alone, like Freefall (which had a short height requirement) because it was entirely enclosed and you had a harness locked on. I knew if they were on that they were safe. Whereas on the "tame" rides like the Ferris wheel or the skyride, anyone could fall or jump out so I not only rode with them, I was nervous enough that either none of us would ride it or I'd hold their hands the entire time. More like a deathgrip I guess.

One time at a traveling carnival my little brother and I went on a pretty large "spider" ride, and there were curved bars on both sides but a gap in the middle. My brother slipped down and I literally had to wrap my legs around him to keep him from falling all the way out, all the while frantically trying to flag down the operator, who waved back and kept the ride going. It was horrifying, because I could feel my strength going, and the ride was going high and fast; there were points I was sure I'd lose him. My mother never let him ride anything again but kiddie rides...ever, that I could remember. She did let me though; go figure.

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Urban Legends Reference Pages

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