Oros calls for establishment of oversight panel to study safety at park

7/10/2009 9:45:03 AM



Westchester County Legislator George Oros (R/Cortlandt) is calling for the establishment of an oversight panel to thoroughly review and monitor the safety procedures and training methods at Playland, the county-owned and operated amusement park in Rye.


Oros said a recently aired investigative program on RNN-TV centering on the deaths of two children and one park employee within a three-year span at Playland raised serious questions about the management of the facility and the attention to safety details.


“I could not forgive myself if another tragedy occurred at Playland and I failed to act,” Oros said. “It may be a recreational facility and an historic landmark but behind the scenes I think more can be done to make it safer.”


According to the RNN-TV report, when a seven-year-old boy from Norwalk, Connecticut died August 3, 2005 after falling or climbing out of a boat on the Ye Old Mill ride, there were half as many employees on duty on the ride as required.


Meanwhile, on June 29, 2007, when a 21-year-old county employee from White Plains was killed after a another employee prematurely started the Mind Scrambler, the state Labor Department, police and the county Parks Department all concluded proper safety precautions were not followed.


“For these families, Playland will always be considered a death trap,” Oros said. “Westchester is the only county in the nation that operates an amusement park and based on its tragic track record maybe there’s a reason for that. We need to find out if there’s a better and safer way to run Playland, because one death is one too many.”


Other tragedies at Playland include a seven-year-old girl from New Rochelle that died when she was thrown from the Mind Scrambler on May 22, 2004 after sliding herself free from the restraining bar; an eight-year-old girl that choked to death in 1988 while chewing gum on the Dragon Coaster; and a 19-year-old man that was killed in the 1920s when he was thrown off The Whip.