An 11-year-old girl’s scalp was completely ripped off after her hair became caught on a carnival ride at a Cinco de Mayo festival in Nebraska, leaving the girl with injuries that may never heal, her family told a local television station.
Elizabeth Gilreath was riding the King Crown’s attraction on Saturday when she somehow slid off the seat; her long hair became caught on the ride, which was still spinning.
“It went on for 5-10 minutes everybody told me, while it ripped and pulled my daughter around,” her father, Timothy Gilreath, told WOWT in Nebraska the following day.
“That is our baby,” he said, getting choked up. “She was tortured.”
Surveillance video showed the ride’s operator running away from the chaotic scene, though it is unclear whether he did so to get help, the station reported.
“I don’t understand how this man didn’t notice my daughter laying on the ground,” said Virginia Cooksey, Elizabeth’s mother.
A woman who witnessed the incident ran over and stopped the ride.
“It was still spinning. I had to stop it with my hands and turn it to the point where it was to the platform,” Jolene Cisneros said.
She saw the girl bleeding badly on the floor of the ride and helped her. The Gilreath family called Cisneros a hero.
Elizabeth was rushed to a hospital where she underwent surgery, according to WOWT. She is currently unable to speak.
Doctors hope her hair will eventually grow back, and that her eyelids will heal.
“They don’t even know if the muscles will work and my daughter will be able to see again,” Gilreath said.
An investigation into what went wrong on the ride is ongoing.
The CNN Wire contributed to this story.