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Off-duty officer helps rescue boy hanging by the neck at Pa. amusement park

West Vincent Township Police Officer John Kane said the 8-year-old boy was hanging from a rope ladder

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NBC10 Philadelphia/YouTube

By Kaitlyn Alanis
The Charlotte Observer

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — An 8-year-old boy playing at an indoor adventure park was found hanging by his neck when he accidentally became tangled in a rope ladder, according to police in Pennsylvania.

“Initially, I heard a lot of screaming and shouting from the employees,” Elizabeth O’Reilly, who was there with her son and nephew, told WCAU. “They were screaming at everybody to just evacuate, get out of the building. And it was very confusing. When I actually saw him he was completely entangled and people were trying to free him.”

“A lot of children were crying,” she added. “A lot of adults were crying.”

The owner of Thrillz High Flying Adventure Parks in King of Prussia said safety monitors responded “within 10 seconds” alongside off-duty police officers and a nurse, according to a statement obtained by WTXF.

“Our staff followed protocol and communicated via our internal radio system to our CPR and First Aid certified team members. Our operations team includes a former military officer, who is a certified ride inspector by the Agriculture Department of Pennsylvania, which oversees ride and amusement safety in the state,” the statement continued. “We are thankful to the KOP community for helping us respond in an effective and expeditious manner.”

The Upper Merion Township Police Department was called to the indoor fun park shortly before 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, according to a news release sent to McClatchy News. Officers were told the child was stuck in the rope ladder.

When police arrived, they learned the child had been caught by his neck, but he had since been freed, authorities said.

“The employees and several other patrons were administering first aid to the child,” police said in the release. “He had been unresponsive at one point, but he regained consciousness and he was talking to first responders.”

The child, who was at the park with family members, was then taken to a hospital, police said. Authorities have not released any additional information about the child or an update on their condition.

“We are told by police that the boy is okay and the injury is not serious,” Thrillz told WTXF. “Our thoughts are with the family and we will be contacting them soon.”

Lisa Cannon, the owner of Thrillz, told WCAU that camera footage shows “the boy was seen climbing headfirst down a rope ladder and became tangled.”

“The rope ladder complies with ASTM ( American Society for Testing and Materials) standards, which specify a 9-inch gap between knots, however, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to further enhance the safety of our equipment by ordering a softer and tighter rope ladder,” she said in the statement. “The obstacle will be closed until our installation is complete.”

McClatchy News reached out to Thrillz for comment on Feb. 27 and is awaiting a response.

King of Prussia is about 20 miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia.

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