An amusement park employee fell 30 feet from a roller-coaster catwalk Saturday to her death.

Officials of the Elitch Gardens amusement park said the victim, Donna Reynolds, 45, was an operator of the Sidewinder coaster.The accident took place about a half hour before the park opened Saturday morning. Park officials said Reynolds had given the all-clear to start the coaster but then stepped out of the operator's booth into a restricted area.

"She leaned over like she was trying to pick something up," said park spokeswoman Kristen Dor-sey. "When the train was released she apparently stepped back," falling 30 feet to the ground.

"We didn't find anything she would have been reaching for," Dorsey said.

Reynolds was transported to Denver Health Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.