Family of girl killed on Haunted Mine Drop ride sues Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Complaint states that 6-year-old met ride’s height requirement
The parents of the 6 year old killed at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park earlier this year filed a wrongful death civil action lawsuit Wednesday.
Through the Dan Caplis Law Firm, lawyers for Estifanos Dagne and Rahel Estifanos filed a complaint to the Denver County District Court seeking “economic and non-economic” damages after Wongel Estifanos fell the full length of the Haunted Mine Drop ride to her death Sept. 5. A report issued Sept. 24 found operator error and insufficient guidance as leading causes in the incident.
“The parents want the full truth,” attorney Dan Caplis said. “This civil action gives them the subpoena power to get to the full truth by putting people under oath and by subpoenaing documents.”
The 93-point complaint concludes that the park’s “reckless acts” resulted in the death of Estifanos.
The complaint also states that she met the height requirement for the ride.
The Sept. 24 report filed by the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, which oversees amusement park rides, issued four contributing factors that led to operator error in the incident. They include a lack of procedures, inadequate training, the restraint system involved and more than one operator taking responsibility for the ride during one cycle.
The report cited two violations of the Amusement Ride and Devices Regulations.
The firm is requesting that other witnesses, including those who had filed previous complaints, reach out.
“The parents request that witnesses come forward,” Caplis said. “We’ve already seen the media coverage of Wongel’s death so far, we’ve seen these important witnesses come from all over the country.”
The complaint will be heard by Denver County as Glenwood Caverns Holdings, LLC — the park’s parent company — is a resident of Delaware. Because the company is not a resident of Colorado, the venue can be designated by the complaint.
Caplis said the Denver area makes it simpler to fly in witnesses from out of state.
The complaint cited two incidents on the the ride, one from 2018 and one from 2019, in which witnesses complained to the park that operators had not sufficiently belted them into their seats. In the 2018 case, the operators had to be recalled back into the ride room from the control room to remedy the issue.
The complaint alleges that the email sent to the caverns in the wake of the 2019 incident was not produced to investigators. The park later said it was not provided immediately due to internal email issues, the complaint states.
Estifanos’ parents are seeking wrongful death damages from grief, loss of companionship, impairment of quality of life, funeral and burial expenses, and more, according to the complaint.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park responded to the complaint on Wednesday afternoon.
“Glenwood Caverns is aware of the lawsuit,” the park said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation. Our hearts go out to the Estifanos family and those impacted by their loss.”
Caplis told the Post Independent he hopes to get the case to trial within a calendar year.
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