A Navy veteran died several hours after a mishap on a platform dive attraction making its debut at a Southern California fair Thursday night, authorities said.
Sabrina Gordon, 31, of Hesperia fell from the FreeDrop USA ride at the San Bernardino County Fair Thursday night at 8:14 p.m., and was airlifted to a hospital, deputies said. Less than five hours later, at 12:20 a.m. Friday, Gordon died.
Her heartbroken family remembered her as a wonderful person whose death could have been prevented.
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“She was a very funny little girl… Always independent, doing her own thing,” Lyle Bell said, Gordon’s father.
She followed her father’s footsteps and joined the Navy right out of high school.
“Like I did and my dad… His father, two older brothers, one younger… we all served,” he said.
It appeared Gordon hit the air cushion and bounced onto the asphalt ground, subsequently injuring her head, according to her father.
"This was stupid, this was something for professional stunt people," Bell said.
Three platforms let participants jump 20, 28 or 36 feet onto the inflated pillow that stands 13-feet tall, according to a news release from the fair. FreeDrop USA was making its debut in California at the fair, according to the release.
A video posted to the San Bernardino County Fair's Facebook page showed the attraction in action, and its caption described the ride as "no bungee cords, no wires, no harnesses, just pure free fall."
"The ride was immediately closed and will remain so indefinitely," San Bernardino County Fair CEO/General Manager Geoff Hinds said in a statement. "The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a thorough investigation."
Gordon reportedly dove off the 28-foot platform, according to the fair’s news release.
She was working at the fair for a vendor when friends egged her into making the jump.
"There were no safety nets ... this accident could have been completely avoided," her husband said, Clifford Gordon. He was not there when she fell but said that when they saw the attraction days before, they both agreed it was too dangerous.
The company that makes FreeDrop defended its safety record in a statement, saying more than 50,000 people have made safe jumps on the ride across the country.
Fair Board of Directors President Paul Russ said in a statement: "This is a heart wrenching tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."