USF football player falls from Busch Gardens ride

July 20th, 2009 by

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – A University of South Florida football player is recovering at a hospital after falling 35 feet from a ride while working at Busch Gardens in Tampa.

Team officials say 20-year-old Maikon Bonani was working Saturday at the Skyride attraction. The park did not immediately identify the employee or release his condition.

The park issued a statement saying that after sending a gondola out of the station, the employee thought the door might be unlocked and held onto the door to check it. He held on for about 50 feet as the gondola took off – 35 feet above the ground – then let go and dropped into a landscaped area.

Bonani was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was listed in fair condition. Busch Gardens said no one else was injured.

Bonani was USF’s starting kicker.

*Statement from Busch Gardens

On Saturday afternoon, a Busch Gardens skyride attendant was transported to the hospital. After sending a gondola out of the station, the attendant thought the door of car might be unlocked and held onto the gondola to check it.

The employee held onto the gondola for about 50 feet, and was about 35 feet off the ground when he let go, landing in a landscaped area near Jungala. There were guests in the skyride car at the time of the incident, but no one else was injured. The attendant is conscious and is being transported to hospital as a precaution.

The safety of our guests and employees is Busch Gardens’ number one priority, and park management is reviewing safety procedures with team members.

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