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Conflicting stories after Cedar Point accident leaves guest seriously injured

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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SANDUSKY, Ohio (WOIO) - Three days after a freak accident at Cedar Point left a woman seriously injured, officials have not addressed inconsistencies between the park’s original story and witness accounts.

“Our focus continues to be on the guest and her family. Because the incident is still under investigation, the ride remains closed, and there is no additional information to share at this time,” said spokesperson Tony Clark on Wednesday.

On Sunday, a woman standing in line for the Top Thrill Dragster was hit by an object that fell from the ride.

In its initial statement, the park called it a “small metal object.”

But witnesses described a much larger object.

“It was in an L-angle shape and had a round dent in it at the angle. It was a heavier type of metal,” said Jayden Kleinschmidt, a 14-year-old from New York.

His mother reached out to 19 News, explaining her son and husband were in line for the same ride, not too from the victim, during a visit to Ohio.

The family told 19 News they watched another guest pick the item up and walk away with it.

“It was pretty rusty,” Kleinschmidt said.

Body camera footage released by Sandusky police also suggests a larger item was involved than first revealed.

“It was something like this big that came off,” a man identifying himself as an off-duty sheriff’s deputy told a park maintenance worker.

He described the size of the object with his hands, suggesting it was about the size of a football.

“It had to be this big! We don’t know what it was,” he reiterated.

19 News reached out to Cedar Point officials on Tuesday for comment and/or clarity on what fell.

We asked if it had yet been determined and if it had been recovered.

That particular email was not returned.

On Wednesday, Clark responded to a separate email with the aforementioned statement.

Also, on Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed its investigation is ongoing, and therefore no further information was available.

In June, the department released a training video for amusement parks, covering safety and inspection protocols.

The video details procedures for everything from smaller parks to county fairs and major attractions, such as Cedar Point.

“All of those classifications are going to require this comprehensive corrosion and fatigue inspection,” said Ron Dean, the inspector featured in the video. “The entire ride is to be looked at.”

According to state records, Dean was on the inspection team that looked over the Top Thrill Dragster in May.

It passed its inspection and was due for another in September.

The ride remains closed pending the outcome of the investigation.

The woman’s condition is unclear.

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