The parents of a 12-year-old Parkland girl who survived a 100-foot fall from a ride at a Wisconsin amusement park opened up to the media Thursday about the child's injuries and her recovery.
Teagan Marti, of Parkland, was with her mother at the Extreme World amusement park in Wisconsin Dells about a month ago when she was injured. Teagan fell 10 stories from a free-fall ride called Terminal Velocity and hit the pavement below.
"This should not have occurred and should never occur again," said Teagan's father, Alex Marti.
The girl survived, but was left paralyzed. She had been recovering at a Wisconsin hospital.
"She's doing a lot better than we all expected. It was a horrible scene. It was a long 30 days," Alex Marti said.
State inspectors confirmed Thursday what investigators saida 33-year-old ride worker already admitted: an awful lapse in judgment and attention on that July day, Local 10's Glenna Milberg reported. Inspectors said the worker forgot to what for a safety net to be hoisted and a giant airbed to inflate before sending Teagan into a free-fall.
"I just told her they didn't catch her right because I don't feel she needs to know that this man dropped her 10 stories to the ground," Julie Marti said.
On Wednesday, Teagan was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, closer to her Parkland home and her family.
"She was smiling. You could tell she's happy to be home. She's going to have her 13th birthday on Saturday, and it's a blessing to bring her back," said family attorney Stuart Grossman.
"When we heard this about Teagan, we were just so upset. It's almost like a family member being hurt. Everybody's praying for her from the day school. We're all praying for the family and hoping that she's going to make a very speedy recovery," said family friend Rhonda DePrado.
Classmates at Westglades Middle School said Teagan is well-liked.
"She was a really nice girl, and she did everything that she could to help other people," said classmate Callahan Shaw.
By all accounts, Teagan's survival defies the odds.
"How can you fall 100 feet and not die and, on top of it, not have any brain injuries? She (suffered) 10 fractures of the cervical and thoracic spine, and none of these pieces of bone broke any blood vessels or crushed her (spinal) cord," Alex Marti said. "That's amazing. It's a miracle."
Now paraplegic, her family said Teagan remains on a ventilator in intensive care with internal injuries. Teagan's parents are focused on her spunk and drive.
"We wanted to brush her teeth. She said, 'I'll do it myself.' Obviously, she can't do it herself, but the determination is there, and that gives me a lot of hope," Julie Marti said.
"She's a fighter," her father said. "She's stable. But she's got a lot of injuries, and it's going to take a long time for her to recover."
The amusement park worker is charged with a felony count of reckless injury.