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"Frightening" moments as arm rest breaks off Darien Lake ride

DARIEN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A popular Darien Lake amusement park ride malfunctioned Sunday night. Part of a seat broke off while the Mind Eraser roller coaster was in motion.

Theme park officials say an arm rest broke off of a chair, and has since been replaced. The piece is not a safety feature of the ride, which is open following a state review of the incident.

Danielle Stevens-Sodaro was sitting in the seat when it became detached.

"I had leaned down to get some support from the side rails," Stevens-Sodaro said. "The side rail completely just came off like butter. It melted right off.

"I'm holding this bar now. As I'm riding, I'm holding the bar. It was frightening because if I would have let go of the bar, there would have been more injuries."

There were no reported injuries, according to New York State Department of Labor officials.

"Guest safety is a top priority for the park," Darien Lake officials said in a statement. "While a minor incident with the Mind Eraser ride occurred yesterday, guest safety was not an issue."

Stevens-Sodaro said she had a sore arm Monday morning. At the time, she was thinking it could have been worse.

"'Oh my God, I'm going to die!'" Stevens-Sodaro claims to have been thinking after the arm rest broke. "'I'm going to die on a roller coaster at Darien Lake on Mother's Day."

Stevens-Sodaro is a regular at the park. She says she was always too afraid to ride the roller coasters until this year. The mother of two was at the park with her family on Sunday.

She was complimentary of the way park officials dealt with the situation.

"They were in shock that that happened," Stevens-Sodaro said. "Everybody was great handling it."

The Department of Labor is in charge of inspecting amusement park rides. According to a spokesperson, the Mind Eraser was inspected on May 3rd. State inspectors went back to the park Monday to perform another inspection. 

No violations will be issued, according to the spokesperson.
 


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