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Girl hurt during carnival doing better; incident still unexplained

Jun 5, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The girl who was injured Friday during a carnival at the Fremont County Fairgrounds is in stable condition this week, according to local officials.

"The last report I heard is she's doing well and is expected to make a full recovery," Fremont County Fair and Rodeo executive director Barney Cosner said Tuesday.

The 16-year-old was life-flighted to Denver after being transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital at about 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Cosner said she had been using the North Star Amusements bungee jump attraction at the fairgrounds when she rolled off of the structure's safety pad and hit her head on the reconstituted asphalt.

"Immediately after that they shut (that event) down for the evening," Cosner said. "They dismantled it on Saturday."

He said North Star representatives couldn't immediately determine what went wrong with the amusement.

"They didn't come up with anything specific they could see," Cosner said. "They were very perplexed and concerned."

He pointed out that the bungee event doesn't involve any motors or mechanical equipment.

"The individual is strapped in, and the bungee straps --the expandable straps --are what allow that person to jump very, very high," Cosner said. "(They use) their momentum and basically a trampoline base. ... There's not anything mechanical."

The Riverton Police Department also investigated the scene, treating the case like an industrial accident, according to officials.

"We made sure there weren't any overt actions of criminal activity or conspiracy," RPD Capt. C.T. Smith said Tuesday. "(It was an accident) to the best of our knowledge."

North Star

The owner of the attraction reportedly is a subcontractor who works with North Star Amusements. Cosner said he has heard from several residents who think the "whole carnival needs to be shut down," but he noted that North Star Amusements has a good safety record.

"We look at safety as a priority for every exhibitor and guest that comes here," Cosner said. "An accident like that is very rare. ... It's not something that is a norm by any stretch of the imagination."

North Star Amusements representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

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