Non-ride related death at Holiday World

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Non-ride related death at Holiday World

Postby rollermonkey » Tue May 30, 2006 2:22 am

Just saw this in another group.
> News report from the
> Evansville Courier and Press:
> 0,1626,ECP_734_4733172,00.html
>> By JIMMY NESBITT Courier & Press staff writer 464-7501 or
>> nesbittj@...
>> May 28, 2006
>> A grounds crew supervisor at Holiday World theme park in Santa
>> Claus, Ind., died Saturday afternoon after being pinned underneath
>> a lawn mower he was operating. Eric M. Hempfling, 20, of Birdseye,
>> Ind., was pronounced dead by Spencer County Coroner Bob Dooley. A
>> LifeFlight helicopter was called to the park to meet an ambulance,
>> but by the time it arrived Hempfling had died, Holiday World
>> spokeswoman Paula Werne said. The accident occurred around 1:30
>> p.m. on a lawn outside the east side of the park. Hempfling was
>> working by himself, mowing an area that had some inclines, Werne
>> said. Werne said she could not elaborate because "there weren't any
>> witnesses. We really feel it's not right to speculate on what
>> happened. We're trying to look into what the situation was."
>> Another employee found Hempfling pinned underneath the lawn mower
>> and was able to lift it off of him with help from other employees.
>> Hempfling had worked at Holiday World seasonally for six years. His
>> father also works at the park. "He was here," Werne said. "It was
>> horrible."
>> Hempfling attended the University of Southern Indiana and majored
>> in business. Holiday World employees from several departments knew
>> Hempfling and spoke highly of him, Werne said. "He was very well
>> loved. People are just broken hearted." The park will have a
>> private memorial Monday for Hemp-fling before it opens.
> --Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Postby mikejenkins1 » Tue May 30, 2006 5:12 am

Yes we saw this event in progress. We were at the Eagles and saw the crowd of yellow shirts all over the hillside. There was a lot of pointing and walking around. We had heard the sirens as well and now I remember seeing a helicopter. Very sad.....

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Postby CoasterFanatic » Tue May 30, 2006 5:28 am

I had heard that a helicopter landed at the park over the weekend, but didn't have any idea what happened. I am saddened to hear this is the reason.

My prayers are with the family.


Postby CoastinKatie » Tue May 30, 2006 5:46 am

I was actually down by Voyage starting the ITL podcast when everything happened. This is a very sad situation. The Koch's were there the whole time. My prayers go out to his family on this sad day.

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Postby socalMAN123 » Tue May 30, 2006 6:50 am

Wow, very sad. I can't believe this happend. This family is in my prayers.
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Postby jamesdillaman » Tue May 30, 2006 8:12 am

How sad is this? I can't believe they couldn't get through their first event since SRM2003 without a death at the park. It wasn't a ride-related death, but it is still sad and sort of creepy. My prayers go out to the Koch family and the family of the young man who died.

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Postby Kumba9 » Tue May 30, 2006 9:47 am

Sad day for H-W and the employees of the park as it lost one if its own members. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Was the father working the same time of the incident? It's sad that it happened during the holiday time as well.
I have personally witnessed and been present for several non-related deaths at BGE (heart attacks, heat strokes, etc) and it really puts things into perspective how short life can be at times as well as dealing with the aftermath of an event like this. It really is difficult to loose a guest or an employee at a place designed to have family fun and forget our troubles (even for a day) and experience an event like this. I'm quite sure the high-class of the Koch family will take care of them for sure as in the past.

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Postby Guy T. Koepp » Tue May 30, 2006 2:04 pm

This is a truly tragic accident. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends.

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Postby Chadley » Tue May 30, 2006 6:58 pm

We too saw the helicopter but were oblivious to what was happening. I told my wife I assumed it was a news station getting some Voyage footage, I never would've guessed this was the reason. My wife said Mrs. Koch seemed to be upset that night when she rode Gobbler Getaway with a bunch of them...I'm so sorry.

My prayers go out to the Hempfling family, and also to the Koch's.

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Postby MonkeyPants » Tue May 30, 2006 9:52 pm

This is very sad news. My condolences for the man's family.

My friend and I were getting off Gobbler Getaway, walking out of the exit doorway, when EMTs rushed past us going in to GG. They looked very frantic. I wondered how someone could get injured on that ride.

As we continued to walk, we were passed by more EMTs, and employees fetching a backboard. Now we were really wondering what had happened, still thinking it happened on GG. Apparently, they were just going through it to get outside the park. Then we saw Will Koch, and more employees rushing to the scene.

It must have been very difficult for the Koch's and everyone else to continue on with the Holiwood Nights events, giving speeches and keeping the mood festive, while knowing the tragedy that had taken place.

Very sad.

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