WISCONSIN DELLS — Teagan Marti, the 12-year-old Florida girl injured on a Wisconsin Dells thrill ride remained in critical condition on Saturday, a UW Hospital official said.
Teagan is being treated at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, said UW Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Brunette, a day after a safety net on the Terminal Velocity ride at Extreme World apparently failed to break her fall.
Terminal Velocity, a free fall thrill ride, is a featured attraction at Extreme World, which bills itself as "the largest extreme sports park of its kind in the Midwest."
Owner Bill Anderson said Friday he had "no idea" of the extent of the girl's injuries. Brunette confirmed MedFlight had returned to Madison with one injured patient but she didn't provide further details. Lake Delton police also did not provide injury details.
Judy Norys, from Woodstock, Ill., was at the scene and heard people screaming.
"There was a little girl lying on the ground," she said. "The mom was saying, ‘Please don't let my baby die.'"
Norys said she began doing CPR on the girl.
"She wasn't breathing and I couldn't get a pulse," Norys said, adding there was blood coming out of the girl's her nose, eyes and mouth.
The ride — inspected about one month ago by state regulators — and the amusement park are now closed.
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Anderson declined to discuss the accident. But an employee of Extreme World read from a statement: "There are no words. We will do whatever police ask of us as they investigate. We are praying for the girl and her family."
According to Extreme World's website, the Terminal Velocity platform is 140 feet off the ground and a diver drops 100 feet at speeds up to 52 mph into a double net above the ground. Lake Delton police said in a statement that the girl was released for her free fall but that the net "was not high enough above the ground to completely break the fall and she did hit the ground."
The statement said she fell "at least 40 feet to the ground."
The minimum age for the ride is 14, but children ages 10 to 14 can dive if a parent or legal guardian is present.
The website describes the thrill ride, which was introduced in 2002, this way:
"Terminal Velocity is a new and unique thrill ride. It is the only ride in the world that allows you unattached, controlled free fall. The ride begins with an ascent to the top in a special elevator. Once at the top, a staff member activates the descend system and releases you after a short countdown. The free fall is completely without attachments. Airtubes and break suspensions around the double net stop your fall so softly that you feel virtually no impact at all. Upon landing, the entire device is lowered a short distance to the ground."
A Sauk County dispatcher said a call on the incident came in at 11:53 a.m. MedFlight was dispatched at about noon.
The Lake Delton Police Department, the Sauk County Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Commerce are investigating the incident.
Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny said the ride was last inspected on June 28 and has been inspected every year since at least 2004. There have been no violations or accidents in that time, Hozeny said.
"We want to express our sympathy for this person who was injured," Hozeny said. "We've directed the ride be shut down until further notice."