Tragedy at Lifest

A sad story from over the weekend: 16-year-old Elizabeth Mohl was killed when she fell from a ride called “Air Glory.” According to WEAU news, that ride “begins by launching two to three people almost 100 feet in the air. Then the riders pull a rip cord, sending them into a freefall glide. For some reason after the cord was pulled, Mohl fell to the ground.”

Ironically, this happened at Lifest, a Christian music festival.

The Washington Post reports that the accident occurred on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. Here’s what happened afterwards:

A prayer service was held at 7 p.m. and the music festival resumed about 7:30 p.m.

That seems rather quick to resume the festivities, but presumably, they didn’t know the extent of the injury.

Mohl died a few hours after the accident.

An announcement about the death was made from a stage just after 9:30 p.m. The music continued but with more mellow worship songs.

United Press International (UPI), whose story was published about 12 hours after The Washington Post’s (12:51 p.m. versus the Post’s 12:42 a.m.), had a different take on it:

Organizers shut down the festival, one of the nation’s largest, for two hours so attendees could pray for the victim, then continued as scheduled the remainder of the weekend.

So was it two hours or 30 minutes?

One Christian who attended the festival had this to say about UPI’s story:

To clarify: The festival did not shut down for two hours. The festival did not simply resume scheduled events, either immediately or after some period of time.

There simply wasn’t much scheduled around that time [after the accident], so to say that the events shut down for two hours is misleading. Perhaps the reporters are trying to paint the image of event organizers “doing the right thing,” but all this does is give me the impression that they were more concerned about image than about what was going on. Artists were up on stage talking about what had happened, and on at least one stage they were soon singing songs of life and of hope; lest you think there were only ‘mellow worship songs’ as reported you might consider checking out Red. Indeed, every artist and speaker I heard, including some while walking between events and eating dinner, took time during and between each event to express love and support for this girl and her family.

One more strange media twist on this story. When CNN initially reported the story, one blogger says there was a strange URL for the page. Not sure what that’s all about…

Anyway, here’s an eyewitness account of what happened:

Brian Childers of Kenosha was in line for the ride and witnessed the accident.

Childers said two people went up in the ride, they pulled the release, and he heard a snapping sound. One person fell, the other stayed swinging in the ride.

“She hit the ground and was not moving at all,” Childers said.

Can you even imagine being the other person who was on that ride right now…?

I’m wondering how people at the event are going to explain this. I’m assuming it was an accident and Mohl just had incredibly awful luck.

But it won’t be reported that way. It would be too brutally honest.

You know God’s name will be invoked in the explanations.

Either people will say this was a part of His plan, or the girl is with God now and that’s a good thing… It’s a normal reaction for many Christians when these types of tragedies occur.

Here’s one example: “It’s just the worst thing that can happen and you never know when god is going to take someone.”

To me, that’s just adding insult to injury. It’s evading the truth. Without the results of the investigation, we don’t know why this happened. Maybe the ride was just not safe, or even worse, maybe this was criminal. But a God did not do this. Let’s admit it was a human mistake.

(Thanks to Bjorn for the link)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Elizabeth Mohl, Air Glory, Lifest, Christian, The Washington Post, United Press International, CNN, Brian Childers, God[/tags]

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