Family's 'Joyous' Vacation Became 'Ultimate Tragedy' When Daughter, 6, Died on Amusement Park Ride

Wongel Estifanos, 6, was on vacation with her family when she died after suffering fatal injuries at a Colorado amusement park

Wongel Estifanos
Wongel Estifanos. Photo: GoFundMe

Wongel Estifanos, 6, was on vacation with her family when she died after suffering fatal injuries on an amusement park ride in Colorado.

Family friend Bemni Mekonnen told CBS4 that this was the first vacation the family had taken since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They haven't gone anywhere in two years. And it was supposed to be a joyous occasion, a fun getaway and it turned into the ultimate tragedy," Mekonnen said.

"She's not supposed to die at this age," he added. "She is only six, the parent is not supposed to bury their child."

As Wongel's parents continue to mourn their daughter, they also want to remember her for the "angel" she was.

"She's just been talking about her the entire time, about her little princess, her angel, and all of the things they've done together," Mekonnen said of the girl's mother.

"She's the personification of it's not how long you live, it's how well you lived," he added of Wongel.

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Wongel died on Sept. 5 while riding the Haunted Mine Drop ride at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, the coroner's office previously announced.

After initially closing following the accident, the amusement park reopened on Saturday. However, the Haunted Mine Drop is not currently listed on its website.

"We are deeply saddened and ask that the family and all those impacted be remembered in your thoughts and prayers," Park General Manager Nancy Heard told PEOPLE in a previous statement.

"An investigation that will include state and local authorities, as well as an independent engineering and ride inspection experts and our own maintenance team, is underway," Heard added.

The Haunted Mine Drop
The Haunted Mine Drop ride at Glenwood Caverns Park. Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent via AP

In the days following Wongel's death, a GoFundMe was set up to help cover funeral costs.

"Her life was cut short in this tragic accident," the page states. "Her parents, family and all the community [are] devastated by this tragic and sudden loss. We want all the community to stand with the family during unthinkable loss."

The page has raised over $66,000 as of Monday.

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