A 16-year-old girl was killed when she and another teen were flung from a spinning carnival ride called the Sizzler outside their Texas church. A Hanks High School student identified by the El Paso Times as Samantha Aguilar died after colliding with a metal barrier during Friday night’s fatal carnival fiasco in east El Paso.
Another teen girl, 15, was thrown off the ride, but she suffered only minor injuries and is expected to recover.
Friends poured their grief onto Aguilar’s Instagram with dozens of comments after learning of the student-athlete’s terrifying death during the Dia de Los Niños celebration.
Hanks track coach Kim Gomez remembered Aguilar as one of the school’s top students.
“We loved Sam. The girls’ comments last night were, ‘She’s wonderful,’ and she is,” Gomez told the Times. “She was very sweet and kind to everybody and a beautiful young lady. We’re devastated we’re not there for the rest of the girls.”
Aguilar and the teens attended the carnival hosted by the St. Thomas Aquinas Church in honor of the Mexican holiday.
The aunt of the third teen girl on the ride who walked away unscathed from the accident that the girls complained the seat belts would not buckle before getting on.
The ride operator assured the passengers they would be fine without safety mechanisms.
The uninjured teen held on for dear life by grasping the unfastened seat belt, News Channel 9 reported the aunt as saying. “There’s inspections that are required, whether or not this vendor has been up to par with that hasn’t been determined. That’ll be revealed in the investigation.