Visually impaired boy loses legs in roller coaster accident: “He was there for about an hour and a half”

A visually impaired boy is on a long road to recovery after being trapped under the rails of a roller coaster and being severely injured in an accident. The 11-year-old child was stuck in the position for more than an hour and a half until rescuers freed him from the complicated position. The freak accident took place while the boy from Tennessee visited a park in Missouri. He and his brother wanted to ride the roller coaster together, but the ride operators claimed it was absolutely safe for him to ride all by himself.

Taking the staff’s word for it, Aalando wound up riding the roller coaster alone right before the accident. “All the kids said the roller coaster stopped, and my grandson who is vision impaired got up and preceded to get off the roller coaster, and the roller coaster restarted backed up, and he fell off and got entrapped under the rails, and he was there for about an hour and a half,” said Aalando’s grandmother, Shelandra Ford. Aalando was trapped until rescuers arrived, and it took another hour and forty minutes for the boy to finally be free. 

“Crews arrived to find a heavily entrapped patient under a coaster,” wrote Branson Professional Firefighters Local 152 on Facebook. “Rescuers worked on scene for an hour and forty minutes on a very difficult technical rescue. The patient was freed and flown by Mercy Life Line to Springfield with very serious injuries. The accident is under investigation.”

Both Aalando’s legs were nearly severed, and his right arm was also crushed in the accident.

“His right leg is very damaged,” Shelandra said. “Both legs are crushed, but we were told by the physicians today that may not be able to save it. We’re just trying to get back to Memphis for a second opinion.” As her grandson now faces the possibility of losing his legs, Shelandra is warning the park’s staff to be more vigilant as well as accountable for their actions. “I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else’s family, if these rides aren’t secure enough for our children then they shouldn’t be available for kids to ride,” Shelandra said. “As adults, we have to take ownership and be accountable for protecting our kids at these water parks.”

So far, there have been no previous records of violations for the Branson Coaster, but investigations into the incident are still underway.

Still yet to receive even a phone call from the park, Shelandra said is waiting to hear from the park while her grandson faces a list of surgeries and treatments for his legs. “To know an individual almost lost his life there—just a phone a phone to the family,” she said.

“It won’t change anything, but it would comfort us a little to know that they care enough to show their concern.”

On a GoFundMe page set up for Aalando’s recovery, an update said, “Aalando has been airlifted back to Memphis. He is still facing several surgeries, including the possible loss of a leg. We remain prayerful. We really need contributions to offset the mounting costs.”