OFFICIALS PROBING DEATH OF GIRL, 13, WHO FELL FROM ROLLER COASTER

Published: Sunday, June 11 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

Officials say they hope to release their findings Monday afternoon about the death of a Bountiful girl who fell 35 feet to her death Friday from Lagoon's wooden roller coaster.

Kilee King, 13, of Bountiful, died at the park Friday evening after falling from the front seat of one of the ride's cars. Witnesses said the girl stood up from beneath a locked restraining bar, lost her balance and fell to a grassy area beneath the coaster. The coaster had just gone over the crest of the coaster's second hill, said Dick Andrew, director of Lagoon marketing.The girl was pronounced dead before emergency medical personnel arrived, according to officials with the South Davis Fire Department.

The victim was the daughter of J. Wayne and Susan King. She was a student at South Davis Jr. High School, where she was seventh-grade vice president. She was active in gymnastics.

"The ride did not malfunction. The lap bar remained closed and no other passengers were involved," Andrew said.

The girl was with three friends, one riding in the seat next to her and two behind her, at about 5:45 p.m. when the girl fell, Andrew said.

Investigators spent six hours Friday night reviewing the accident scene, including operating cars on the coaster to check for any mechanical problems. Saturday, police were conducting interviews of witnesses, and the state medical examiner was also expected to perform an autopsy, Farmington police officer Darrell Allen said.

The coaster is closed until the investigation is completed. The wooden coaster was originally built in 1922 and has been renovated several times, including work done after a fire destroyed part of it in 1953.

The only two recorded ride-related deaths at the 102-year-old park come within just seven weeks of each other. In April, Ryan Beckstead, 6, of Bountiful, died after he fell out of the back seat of "Puff the Little Fire Dragon," a low-speed children's coaster, when it left its station. He was struck by the car as it returned to the station and as his father was rushing to rescue him.

That ride reopened last week after the operator's platform was changed to provide more visibility of the ride and the controls were simplified, Andrew said.

Andrew confirmed there have been other deaths and injuries at the park, including a person who suffered a seizure and another who suffered a heart attack and died. A Lagoon employee was also killed when she fell off a garbage truck in the parking lot in 1981.

There has also been a drowning at the swimming pool involving someone who had gotten onto the park grounds after it had closed. In 1983, an employee lost an arm while working on the "Colossal Fire Dragon" coaster.

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