ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – A night of fun at the Ector County Coliseum carnival took a turn for the worse this Easter weekend.
11-year-old Genesis Martinez was at the carnival Saturday night with her aunt and some friends. Genesis and a friend decided to try out a ride called, “Kamikaze.”
It’s a ride that swings riders up in the air, then brings them back down. It resembles a pendulum. At one point, riders are left completely upside-down. The total ride lasts more than 2 minutes.
Genesis says, her safety belt was not secured completely.
“He saw we weren’t strapped in, and when we tried to tell him, he completely walked off,” Martinez said.
Genesis says the ride’s operator didn’t understand her. Moments later, the ride started.
“When we went upside down, we literally flipped over,” Martinez said. “The thing that goes over your chest hit me on the nose because it wasn’t strapped in on us… I started bleeding, then it turned over again.”
In between tears, Genesis says she tried to help her friend by holding onto her, a selfless action in a moment of terror.
“I was trying to hold her down when we’re in there, but I couldn’t. I had to hold myself down,” Martinez said. “She was scared for her life and I didn’t know what to do.”
Genesis says a Good Samaritan sitting behind her helped hold them both down. Her family says they didn’t call 911, but instead took her to MCH in Odessa to get checked out by a doctor.
Doctors say Genesis had a concussion and a bruised nose.
Jason Maldanado is Genesis’ dad.
“What is protocol? My daughter was bouncing around like she was a piece of laundry in the dryer,” Maldanado said.
Jason says he drove straight from work to the carnival to get answers. But Jason says after he showed up, he didn’t get much of a response for why the ride was still operating.
“I need you to get that guy off that piece of equipment now before he gets somebody killed,” Maldanado said. “I would never let them go to a carnival in Odessa, Texas because they failed protocol.”
The ride was still in full swing on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the apparent incident, with riders coming on and off.
We reached out to Wright’s Amusements and spoke with John Ring, the owner. He said the company is aware of the injuries and even held a team meeting Sunday morning.
But Ring said Wright’s Amusements won’t be releasing a statement until later when the company learns more about what happened Saturday night.
The carnival at the Ector County Coliseum ended Sunday, April 4th.