MATTHEW HOWARD SR was just leaving a New York amusement park on Saturday evening with his family when he heard someone screaming for help.
He looked up to see a young girl dangling about 25 feet (about 8 metres) off the ground from a slow-moving gondola ride as the sun was setting. Her little brother sat next to her in the green two-person pod, crying hysterically, saying he couldn’t hold on - informs thejournal.ie.
Howard (47) and his 21-year-old daughter, Leeann Winchell, ran over and positioned themselves under the girl as the ride stopped and security came running. A crowd of onlookers gathered, many filming, others calling for help.
“I said: ‘It’s ‘OK! It’s OK to let go, I’ll catch you, honey,’” said Howard.
The girl lost her grip and fell down where Howard and Winchell, arms outstretched, waited with a few other good Samaritans. The two took the brunt of the girl’s fall, tumbling to the ground themselves after the catch. She was lifted up and carried to a golf cart where emergency workers arrived to help her, witnesses said.
Howard, a contractor from Schenectady, was treated and released for a minor back injury after the rescue.
“I couldn’t let that little girl die,” Howard told the Associated Press. “No one wants to put himself underneath a body like that, but I couldn’t stand by and watch.”
The 14-year-old girl from Greenwood, Delaware, was taken to Albany Medical Center in stable condition with no serious injuries, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said.