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Family Hurt -- Mom Critically -- In Log Ride Mishap At Castle Park

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA)  -- A family of three was hurt -- the mom critically -- when a log ride allegedly malfunctioned at Castle Park in Riverside Saturday.

Officials said a mother, father and daughter were all transported to a nearby hospital. The father and daughter's injuries were called minor.

"We responded to a call that said an individual was trapped on the log ride underneath one of the cars," said Capt. Brian Guzzetta with the Riverside City Fire Department.

"When we arrived on scene," Guzzetta said, "We noticed that one of the rides had malfunctioned."

The apparent malfunction -- around 4:30 p.m. -- caused one of the cars to come down a ramp at an "incredible rate of speed" throwing an individual off the ride.The height from which the mother was apparently thrown from the ride was not clear.

The log came to a stop where the water was not deep.

"We had three patients, two adults and one minor. We were able to treat them and get them to a trauma facility." Guzzetta said.

CBS2's Chris Holmstrom asked Guzzetta if the mother was responsive.

"She was responsive," he said, "we were able to get the entire family over to the trauma center and keep the family together. And the injuries appeared critical but they were doing well when they left the incident."

It was unclear what might have caused the accident but CBS2's  Sara Donchey noted a lack of water on the ramp. Guzzetta said  "a pump failure" might have played a contributing factor in the accident.

The park remained opened. But the log ride was, of course, closed pending further investigation.

The city and the park are both investigating the accident, Guzzetta said.

On Saturday evening, CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Laurie Perez interviewed a man -- via Face Time -- who witnessed the entire incident. Robert Mahler's kids were on the next ride over.

He said he watched horrified when he realized something was wrong.

"Everybody was just screaming and panicking," he said.

"I was watching my kids on the ride," Mahler said, "and I just heard this big thud. And this huge wall of water washed over where the ride envelope on to a different ride, which is unusual. And I stood up and looked and all of a sudden I saw the boat careening around the corner and it went way too fast and it tilted, maybe 45, 55 degrees and all I saw was, just essentially, legs falling out of the boat. Cartwheels out of the boat. And down into the water."

He said the woman was covered in blood, the man was grabbing his back.

"There was another little boy sitting in the very front and I mean, as a father, I have a 7 and 4-year-old," said Mahler, "the kid? I just wanted to grab him because he was so shooken up. He had this big gash on his forehead."

Witnesses told Perez that the moment the accident happened, park patrons and park workers jumped over a fence surrounding the ride and  rushed to the family's aid.

Park officials told her the rides are inspected every day and that the log ride was inspected earlier Saturday.

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