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Tristan Curtis: Onlookers stop free fall ride after 4-yr-old's harness comes undone seconds before launch

Tristan had not been secured into his seat and the restraint was visibly open above his head while the children sitting next to him had theirs secured
UPDATED APR 12, 2022
Tristan Curtis
Tristan Curtis

Tristan Curtis, a 4-year-old boy, had an open harness when the 'Free Fall' ride was seconds away from launching. The little boy had not been secured into his seat and the restraint was visibly open above his head while the children sitting next to him had theirs secured. The ride at Australia's Sydney Royal Easter show on Sunday, April 10, could have been fatal if witnesses hadn't alerted the operators about the situation.

Tristan's mother, Sky Boustani Curtis told The Daily Telegraph, "The (operator) girl stopped the ride but didn't get out of her booth so another father ended up getting him to climb down to him. Myself and my husband were not tall enough to reach him. They simply did not pull his harness down, didn't check him." Eva Levy, a witness, said, "They hit emergency stop but it seems like the operator couldn't bring the ride down and someone actually had to go up there and have his son jump into his arms. Onlookers had to scream for the ride to be stopped."


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Curtis told 7 News, "The ride just started moving and everyone just started screaming. As everyone knows Tristan, he's very impulsive. You don't know what he's going to do and for him to stay still is very, very hard. It was very panicky because I thought for sure he's going to stand up and do something but I just had to keep talking to him." Tristan reportedly remained suspended on the ride for a few minutes and was still a few meters up when a tall man rescued him.

"The lady put me up with no seatbelt. Someone lift me down," Tristan, who has autism and ADHD, told 7 News. The ride was shut down indefinitely after the incident and an investigation was launched by SafeWork NSW. Shane McGrath, Sydney Royal Easter Show's spokesperson, said, "We've got a team of investigators from SafeWork NSW on-site, we've also got an engineer undertaking an investigation to see what caused the issue and ensure that it doesn't happen again."

Sydney Royal Easter Show released a statement on Instagram that read, "The safety of patrons at the Show is paramount and we have shut down the kids' Free Fall ride following a reported issue with a harness. The safety systems of the ride functioned well to prevent any injury occurring and the ride will not operate again until a full investigation has been completed and the ride has been approved by specialist engineers."


Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos's statement said, "I can confirm that I have instructed SafeWork NSW to explore shutting the Free Fall ride for the remainder of the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show if patron's safety cannot be guaranteed. The ride has been closed pending investigation. Safety is my number one priority and any operator who fails to provide the highest level of safety standards should face severe consequences and that is why I've instructed SafeWork NSW to explore all available avenues."