The woman whose viral video captured a man dangling from the bar of a chairlift ride just moments before he plummeted 50 feet to his death said she tried in vain to stop the ride after noticing he ‘didn’t have any equipment that would save him from a fall.’
‘I thought it was a stunt, or he is a gymnast practicing for American Ninja Warrior, rehearsing,’ said Lucy Grace Astilla, who was at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah, where the tragedy unfolded Saturday.
Astilla was taking aerial footage from the Sky Ride with her husband when he saw the man hanging from the cable car – facing forward – traveling in the opposite direction, she told Fox 13.
‘When my husband and I started to ride in that car, I was inspired to open my phone to take videos,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘I was not expecting [a] scene like this.’
She could be heard in the video asking, ‘Why is he doing it like that?’ as she pans over to the man, who is clutching the safety bar as it crossed above a fountain surrounded by people, many of whom stopped and pointed up at the man.
She said she started trembling as she noticed struggling to keep his grip.
Astilla then yelled for the operator to stop the ride as her cable car returned to the station, she said, which they did – but it was already too late. She heard people screaming nearby.
At first, she assumed the roars were coming from riders on a nearby roller coaster, she said, but soon she learned the grim truth: The screaming was because the man fell.
‘I felt so numb, trembling and so sad,’ she said.
She rushed over to the scene, she noted, and saw several people try to help the 32-year-old man, with first responders quickly arriving at the scene.
Lucy Grace Astilla was taking aerial footage of Lagoon Amusement Park when her husband noticed a man traveling in the opposite direction of the Sky Ride was dangling from the safety bar of his seat. She said she assumed it was a stunt until she realized he did not have any equipment on him and asked the operators to stop the ride
A man was filmed hanging from the Sky Ride at Lagoon Amusement Park in Utah Saturday night, appearing calm as he did not appear to make any effort to get back into the chair. But just a few minutes later, police said, he plummeted 50 feet to the ground
Police said they received multiple calls just before 6 p.m. that night that the man had fallen from the ride, which transports guests from one side of the park to the other.
Officers and paramedics promptly arrived on the scene to render medical aid, they said, before ultimately deciding to airlift him to the University of Utah hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
Farmington police announced the unidentified parkgoer’s death on Monday and said the man was at the park with his family, although he was riding the cable car alone.
His family has reportedly asked authorities not to release his name.
Astilla’s video appears to show the man climbing out of his seat
In Astilla’s video, the man could be seen apparently climbing out of his seat as she points her camera down towards the water fountain before panning around to take in the scene.
She quickly turns the camera back to him as her husband starts talking next to her.
The did not seem to be struggling to get back on the ride, and instead appeared calm as the seat he was dangling from passed by Astilla’s camera.
As he vanished into the distance, Astilla could be heard saying: ‘It’s crazy.’
Mystery still surrounds how the man ended up over the side of the ride, and whether he let go of the bar deliberately, or fell after being unable to climb back in. An investigation is ongoing.
The horrific death has spurred multiple theories and claims on social media, although police have refused to comment on them.
But both police and Lagoon officials said it did not appear the ride malfunctioned.
Authorities also noted a toxicology tests will be conducted as part of an autopsy, and have said it does not appear his fall was intentional.
‘We don’t know why he did that or what was going on,’ Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen told KSL. ‘We just don’t know.’
Horrified families looked on as he passed by on the Sky Ride
Authorities have concluded the Sky Ride (pictured) did not malfunction while he was on it
Lagoon officials are cooperating with the investigation, noting that the Sky Ride has operated without incident since it was first installed in 1974
Police said they have checked the safety bar on the seat he was in and concluded it was working properly at the time the man was seen hanging from his seat.
‘That’s part of what we checked and it was functioning as it should,’ Hansen told the Standard-Examiner. ‘It would appear he did something to get around that.’
All of the rides are checked everyday and have safety information ‘either printed or said verbally,’ Adam Leishman, a spokesman for Lagoon, told Fox 13, adding in a statement to the Standard-Examiner: ‘Our hearts go out to that man’s family and friends, and our guests and our employees that witnessed the incident.’
For Astilla, she told DailyMail.com, it took her three nights before she could once again sleep – as she wondered whether the man would still be alive if he had someone to ride with.
‘I do pray this would be the first time and the last time’ an incident like this occurs, she said.
The Sky Ride has operated without incident since it was first installed at the park in 1974, Leishman noted.
The man’s death was the first one at the park since the 1980s, when two separate fatal incidents saw a teenage girl fall to her death from a roller coaster, while a toddler was crushed on the Puff the Magic Dragon ride, according to the Standard-Examiner.