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POLICE PROBING DEATH OF BOY KILLED ON LAGOON KIDDIE RIDE

Published: Monday, May 1 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

Investigators on Monday probed Sunday's death of a 6-year-old Bountiful boy who died in what officials say may be the first ride-related death in the 100-year history of Lagoon Amusement Park.

Dick Andrew, Lagoon's marketing and public relations director, said Ryan Beckstead was killed about 1:20 p.m. on the Puff the Little Fire Dragon ride. The boy is the son of Paul D. and Christine Beckstead, 677 E. Fourth North, Bountiful.Lagoon's investigation has determined that Ryan apparently worked free from two locked restraining devices and then stood up as the ride was leaving the station, Andrew said.

He fell out of the car and was climbing back up onto the tracks when the ride, returning to the station, struck him, according to Andrew.

"It's a children's ride, a type of roller coaster," Andrew said. "It doesn't travel at a high speed and it's not a turbulent ride by any means. The track isn't long and it comes back into the station pretty quickly. This all happened very fast."

Ryan got on the ride with two friends, who were not involved in the accident, Andrew said. His parents were in another area of the park at the time of the incident.

Andrew said there hasn't been a ride-related death at Lagoon since the present management took over in 1945, and no one knows of any previous deaths at the park, celebrating its centennial year.

The death is being investigated by Farmington police, the Utah medical examiner and Lagoon's internal safety and security division.

Paramedics from the Davis County sheriff's office responded to the accident, arriving at 1:29 p.m. They reported the boy's injuries on their arrival were fatal.

Park officials closed the ride after the incident and it has remained closed pending completion of the investigations. Lagoon is open only on weekends in the spring, and park officials could not comment if the ride would open next weekend.

Lagoon vice president David Freed said Monday the investigations so far have determined the ride has no safety or mechanical defects. Freed, safety committee chairman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, said an outside safety investigator has been contacted and is being asked to review the ride before it reopens.

The ride's manufacturer also has been contacted and will notify other ride owners of the incident, Freed said.

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