The Suffolk County Police Department Homicide Squad, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York State Department of Labor are currently investigating two deaths that occurred in as many days at Adventureland.
The first involved an employee and occurred Tuesday, Aug. 30. According to police, at approximately 10:40 p.m. Stephen Gary, 18, of North Babylon was operating the Lady Bug Coaster at the amusement park on Route 110 in East Farmingdale when he was struck by one of the cars from the ride. Police stated it appears he suffered from internal injuries. He was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow where he later died.
The investigation is continuing and an autopsy was scheduled by the hospital.
The second involved a patron of the amusement park and occurred on Thursday, Sept. 1. According to police, at 12:40 p.m. Barbara Brade, 45, was thrown from the TopScan ride. Brady, a resident of the Central Manor Home for Adults in Far Rockaway, landed on a car in the adjacent parking lot, police stated. She was transported to New Island Hospital in Bethpage where she was pronounced dead.
Mondial, the Holland-based manufacturer of the TopScan ride, lists the following description of the ride on their website, www.mondialrides.com: "The hydraulic drive enables the main cross arm to make an oval arc in both directions, left and right. At the end of this cross arm are the unique rotating gondolas [arms] which are fitted with the safest shoulder and lap restraints. The gondolas are allowed to rotate freely using centrifugal force, they also can perform a 360 degree loop. As the riders' legs are free, the sensation of flying and performing loops is enhanced." It has a capacity of 30 people, each with a triple lock restraint system. According to Adventureland's website, www.adventureland.us, the park's height requirement for that particular ride is a minimum of 54 inches.
In response to the fatality of the patron, Director of Operations Paul Gentile offered the following statement: "In our 43-year history at Adventureland, we have always delivered a safe and wonderful park to our many guests. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of the guests involved in today's incident. We are fully cooperating with all of the agencies involved in this investigation. We hope to understand what happened as soon as possible, and we will not make any other statement until we have more facts."
While the park remains open, both rides are closed for the investigations. NYS Department of Labor Spokesperson Robert Lillpopp said the department is continuing its investigation into the deaths at Adventureland.
"We are continuing out there with numerous inspectors to determine what we can in the investigation," Lillpopp stated. "The ride will be closed until such time we deem it is safe for the public and then we will allow the park to open it at their discretion."
Police are asking that anyone who may have witnessed the latter incident to contact them at 631-852-6392 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.