When leaving Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, New York, on Saturday, Matthew Howard Sr. and his daughter, Leeann Winchell, heard someone screaming from above, Time magazine reported.
It was a 14-year-old girl dangling 25 feet up. Her experience on Sky Ride, which is a half ski-lift, half gondola ride, was going horribly wrong. Next to her was her crying younger brother. The attraction was stopped when the operator was told a rider was in distress.
Howard and Winchell, plus a few other good Samaritans, held their arms out to catch the brunt of the girl's fall. Emergency workers soon came to get her, but she sustained no serious injuries. Howard did receive a minor back injury from his heroic gesture.
"I couldn't let that little girl die," Howard told The Associated Press. "No one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn't stand by and watch."
No one knows how the girl managed to fall out of the ride, which has been inspected and confirmed to be working fine, CBS News reported. The park has temporarily closed the ride. Two safety consultants told "CBS This Morning" that attractions like the Sky Ride are pretty safe, and that it's usually the rider's fault if something goes wrong.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, people have a one in 16 million chance of getting a serious injury from a ride, USA Today reported. Still, with the possibility of human error in addition to mechanical malfunctions, it's a good idea to always have adults ride with young children.