A woman is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after being struck by a rollercoaster while trying to retrieve her mobile phone.
Australian Shylah Rodden, 26, was visiting the Melbourne Royal Show on Sunday and walked onto the Rebel Coaster tracks where she was struck by a carriage and hurled several meters into the air before landing on the ground.
She was taken to Royal Melbourne hospital with critical head injuries, where she remains in a coma.
Her father, Alan Rodden, said: “The injuries are horrific. Horrific. She’s brain damaged. It’s pelvic, her arms, legs, back, neck – there’s hardly a thing that’s not broken. I just can’t work out how the hell so much damage has been done.”
“Even the doctors have said they haven’t seen anything as bad as this for a long time.”
“Obviously I can’t talk to my daughter. She’s going to be in a coma for quite a while,” he added.
Showgoers reported hearing screams before the Rebel Coaster was shut down and cordoned off as emergency services responded to the incident.
Victoria Police said early investigations suggest that Sarah had walked onto the roller coaster track to retrieve her dropped phone.
“It appears, at this early stage, the woman, believed aged in her 20s, may have walked on and entered the track to try and retrieve a dropped phone before she was hit by a rollercoaster carriage, about 5:45pm,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“Sadly, the woman was then found injured on the ground.”
A statement released by the Melbourne Royal Show confirmed that a person had been injured on the Rebel Coaster ride before the area was cordoned off.
“We are working closely with the ride operator, WorkSafe Victoria and Victoria Police to investigate the issue further, however we can confirm that no one has fallen from the ride,” they said.
“The ride in question will be closed for the foreseeable future and updates will be made as information comes to hand.
“The visitor has been taken to hospital for further assessment.”
Melbourne Royal chief executive, Brad Jenkins, said all rides at the Melbourne Royal Show were officially cleared for operation before they began operating last Thursday.
He added that the operator of the rollercoaster involved in Sunday’s incident was “absolutely devastated”.
“‘It’s a very tight-knit show community … and everyone is totally devastated,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“The show is about putting smiles on people’s faces and tragedies like this are just devastating for everyone involved.”
Police are continuing their investigation into the incident.
awful thing to say, but you can’t fix stupid!
She obviously dropped the phone while on the ride. They should have stopped the ride long enough to retrieve her property. What? 30 seconds. I would wager that someone operating the ride knew that she was there.