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Fair worker plunges off Ferris wheel during rescue attempt

Posted at 6:21 AM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 06:21:23-04

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP/CNN) – A Ferris wheel at a North Carolina fair malfunctioned Friday night, leaving two children stuck inside and a worker injured.

As the cart with her 5-year-old son Hunter and his friend inside started tilting upside down, Angela Roach watched helplessly at the bottom of the Ferris wheel at the Central Carolina Fair.

"Once the caboose finally stopped, it's almost at a 90-degree angle. I'm scared. What do I do? I’m begging for help. And then I see a gentleman run up beside of it to assist,” Roach said.

Cell phone video shows one of the workers climbing the Ferris wheel to get the kids to safety.

But one moment, he’s climbing up the metal framework, and the next, he loses his footing, hits the carriage below and keeps falling.

Police say he managed to walk away with only a broken finger.

"I'm beyond thankful that he risked his own life – he could have fallen – he did fall, but he didn't know that, and I'm thankful that he did. Once it broke loose and they started pulling it down, I could see Hunter’s face, and I saw smiles,” Roach said.

Though Hunter and the other child on board were not hurt, Roach says the close call is something no parent should experience.

"There needs to be extra training, something because where was a firetruck? A fire truck would have been safer for every single one of them. What other things can they do to prepare themselves for this?” she said.

The mother says the fear of what could have happened has made up her mind about the future.

"I will never go back to another fair. I will never put him on another ride like that,” Roach said.

Exactly what caused the initial malfunction is still under investigation.

The ride was reopened on Saturday following a state inspection and continued to run until the fair ended Sunday.

Copyright 2017 WGHP, Brittney Smith via CNN. All rights reserved.