Boy falls to death from carnival ride

Sunday, July 3, 2005

HIGHLAND, Ind. -- A 9-year-old boy died after falling more than 25 feet from the gondola of a rotating carnival ride during a Fourth of July festival at a town park.

"Rider error, operator error, equipment failure -- we don't know at this point," Highland police chief Peter Hojnicki said. "His death was caused by unknown reasons."

Dakota Stevenson of Gary, Ind., was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after falling Friday night from the Wind Shear, a ride in which passengers are strapped into a rotating gondola with over-the-shoulder restraints.

All of the carnival rides remained shut down Saturday while the festival continued.

The Wind Shear ride was last inspected June 23 and appeared to be safe at the time of the inspection, said the Indiana Division of Fire and Building Safety.

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