When Matthew Howard Sr. looked up to assess the source of this commotion, he saw a young girl dangling from a slow-moving gondola ride nearly 25 feet off the ground.
A father and his family were on their way out of a New York amusement park when they heard someone screaming for help. When Matthew Howard Sr. looked up to assess the source of this commotion, he saw a young girl dangling from a slow-moving gondola ride nearly 25 feet off the ground.
Beside the 14-year-old girl was her little brother. He was seated in the green two-person pod and was crying hysterically saying he could no longer hold on. Without wasting a moment, the 47-year-old father and his 21-year-old daughter, Leeann Winchell, ran over to the ride.
They perfectly positioned themselves under the girl as the ride came to a halt. "I said: 'It's OK! It's OK to let go, I'll catch you, honey," recalled Howard, a contractor from Schenectady. Soon the girl lost her grip and fell on Howard and Winchell's outstretched arms, who took the burnt of the girl's fall by tumbling to the ground themselves following the catch.
The girl was then lifted up and carried to a golf cart where emergency workers had arrived to help her, revealed witnesses. Howard also received treatment for a minor back injury following the rescue and was eventually released. Despite the toll, it took on his body, Howard said he could not just stand by and do nothing.
"I couldn't let that little girl die. No one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn't stand by and watch," he said according to CBS News. The girl from Greenwood, Delaware, was eventually taken to Albany Medical Center in stable condition with no serious injuries, revealed the Warren County Sheriff's Office.
Winchell visited the girl following the incident and said that she was in good spirits but noted that her little brother was quite shaken up after the ordeal. "I'm just glad we could be there to help. We were in the right place at the right time," noted Winchell. The incident took place on the Sky Ride at Six Flags Great Escape Amusement Park in New York.
Loren Lent, who had boarded the ride with his 10-year-old daughter and wife, said that he watched from a higher position as the girl fell down. "My daughter was just traumatized. She was crying for about a half-hour after," said Lent noting that it took too long for the park employees to stop the ride and call for help.
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | Inside Edition