According to team officials, a football player from the University of South Florida is in the hospital recovering from the personal injuries he sustained in a 35-foot fall from a gondola ride while working at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.
Spokeswoman Jill Revelle said the park did not immediately release the name of the employee or the extent of his injuries, but team officials identified him as 20-year-old Maikon Bonani, starting kicker for the Golden Bulls.
On July 19, Bonani was working at the Skyride attraction. After he sent passengers on a gondola out of the station, he believed the door might have been unlocked and held onto it to check it as guests sat on the ride, according to a statement from the park. He held on as it took off and let go 35 feet above the ground, falling to a landscaped area below.
Revelle said Bonani was attempting to ensure the safety of the riders. She said no one else was injured in the incident.
According to Revelle, Bonani was responsive, but received hospital transport as a precaution. He was listed in fair condition at St. Joseph’s hospital.
USF football coach Jim Leavitt said he spoke to Bonani on the phone and later paid him a visit. Leavitt said he may have injured his vertebra.