WATCH: Texas Father and Son's Seat Belt Releases During Terrifying Roller Coaster Ride: 'I Reached Over to Grab Him'
A fun outing to a Texas amusement park turned into a horrifying nightmare for a father and his young son
A fun outing at the Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Texas, turned into a horrifying nightmare for a father and his young son last Friday.
Delbert Latham and his 6-year-old son Kaysen were riding the Mouse Trap roller coaster at the popular Texas park when their seatbelt released mid-ride.
Kaysen slid to the bottom of the car and Latham quickly grabbed his son, pulling him back up in his seat. He continued to hold him tightly for the rest of the ride.
“We went to hit the very first drop, and as soon as we went over, I felt the seat belt release,” Latham told KVII-TV. “I guess the motion of it going down threw [Kaysen] to the bottom of the cart.
“That’s when I reached over to grab him. Honestly, from that part forward, I didn’t even realize that I was still videotaping it. I was just trying to make sure that he held on and that he didn’t start panicking or start trying to move or anything, because I knew that there was another drop coming up.”
After the roller coaster stopped, Latham said he told the ride’s operator what had happened, and the response was even more frightening.
“He stated to me that, ‘Oh yeah, I’m sorry about that. That’s been happening sometimes,’ ” Latham told the news outlet. “That made me more angry, obviously. I told him that’s not acceptable to know that something is messing up and still let people on a ride.
“They didn’t put anybody in the seat that we were sitting in, but they still loaded the rests of the seats up and let the ride take off again. In my opinion, if someone tells you the seat belt is broken, you should go ahead and just shut that part down and not let anyone on that ride.”
Latham, who had been filming the ride so his wife could see Kaysen experience the roller coaster, posted the terrifying video on Facebook.
“Scary moment for the Latham family tonight,” he wrote on Facebook. “Please feel free to share and let people know how this place is being [run]!”
The Texas park, which opened 65 years ago, responded to the incident in a statement released to PEOPLE.
“We were extremely concerned to hear about the experience of Mr. Latham and his six-year-old son over the weekend,” the statement reads in part.
“Wonderland immediately reached back out to Mr. Latham the evening it happened and promptly removed the back cart from service and ensured all other seat belts were in proper working order. The Mouse Trap was back in full operation on Saturday.
“This particular ride was originally built without seatbelts, but Wonderland later added belts as an extra safety measure. The Park’s Safety and Maintenance Team is tasked with conducting daily inspections on every Park ride to ensure the safety of Park goers.”
Latham said representatives from the park did reach out to the family after the incident.
“They did respond to me and told me they send their deepest condolences and that safety is their number one issue,” Latham told KVII-TV. “They offered me a couple of WOW passes if I wanted to come back, but we won’t be going back.”