HUNTINGTON — A Camden Park employee was flown by HealthNet to a local hospital after becoming pinned underneath a ride Saturday afternoon.
Robbie Roberson, assistant chief of the Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department, said they received a call around 4:30 p.m. that a Camden Park worker was trapped under a ride.
“When we arrived on scene, we found a male employee of Camden Park with a lower extremity entrapment at the Slingshot ride,” Roberson said.
The man was trapped for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, Roberson estimated.
“We did a lengthy extrication that included partially dismantling the ride to get to him,” Roberson said.
HealthNet landed about a mile away at Vinson Middle School’s ballfield, according to Roberson.
“We loaded the patient in an ambulance here at the park and brought the HealthNet crew here on the ground once they landed,” he said. “We then transported the patient and HealthNet crew back to the helicopter and he was flown to the hospital.”
The extent of the man’s injuries was unknown and no other details about the employee were released, citing an ongoing investigation.
Both lanes of U.S. 60 were closed for a short period, Roberson added.
Park officials said they were still trying to determine how the worker became trapped under the ride, but did say the park reopened after the incident.
Camden Park opened for its 115th season on May 5. It is owned and operated by the Boylin family. This is the fourth generation of Boylins owning and operating West Virginia's only amusement park. Currently, J.P. Boylin's grandson Jack runs the park with his mom, Jane, and other family members.
Jack Boylin issued a statement following the incident.
“This evening an employee was injured during the operation of the Slingshot ride,” he said Saturday. “The operator had been trained on all safety procedures and had operated the ride since June 2017 with no incidents. He also had no incident on any other rides he operated at the park. All safety mechanisms on the ride worked and helped prevent the incident from being greater. No patrons were injured. We all hope for a swift recovery for our employee.”
The Slingshot ride opened at the park in 2016. Jack Boylin said the ride has been shut down as the investigation into the incident continues.
On Dec. 10, 2015, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Camden Park with 40 serious violations and five other-than-serious violations. OSHA said at that time they initiated an inspection in June 2015 in response to a complaint.
The serious violations included employees exposed to fall, electrical, chemical and amputation hazards, obstructed exit routes that were not visibly marked, lack of machine guarding and no written hazard communication plan for workers who use or could be exposed to chemicals.
Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.