Girl, 11, Is Scalped and Possibly Disfigured for Life After Getting Her Hair Caught in Carnival Ride
A Nebraska girl was left scalped and potentially disfigured for life this weekend after a carnival ride turned into a grisly tragedy.
Elizabeth Gilreath, who loved ones call Lulu, was riding an attraction at a Cinco de Mayo festival in Omaha on Saturday when she reportedly slipped off her seat.
When her long, red hair wound itself in the ride's spinning mechanism, the 11-year-old suffered some five to 10 minutes of agony before a heroic mother managed to stop the ride.
"She was tortured," Lulu's father, Timothy Gilreath, said in an emotional press conference held at the hospital where his daughter has now undergone three surgeries.
"They don't even know if the muscles will work and if my daughter will ever see again," he said.
Lulu was on a ride called the King's Crown when the tragedy struck. After several minutes, witness Jolene Cisneros realized what was going on and ran to the ride to stop it.
"It was still spinning. I had to stop it with my hands and turn it to the point where it was to the platform," Cisneros told WOWT.
Cisneros, herself a mother, then assured a bleeding Lulu that everything was going to be fine.
"I was like, you're going to be okay and she's just like, where's my pretty hair? I didn't know it was my child, I just knew there's a child and she needed help," she said.
Lulu's family have called Cisneros a hero. They are now hoping for their beloved little girl to recover from the gruesome accident.
"At this point we are not sure if her scalp will die or stay alive," reads a GoFundMe page started to benefit Lulu. "If it does die Lulu will not be able to grow her own hair.
"Also at this time Lulu's muscles for eyes have been damaged so there is a chance that she may not be able to see again."
The proceeds from the GoFundMe page will go towards paying Lulu's medical bills, for wigs she'll need and other expenses.
On Monday, the company that runs the carnival, Thomas D. Thomas Shows, responded to the tragedy in a statement obtained by InsideEdition.com.
"Thomas D. Thomas Shows values the safety and health of our guests above all else, and we are saddened by this accident.
"At this time, an investigation is underway. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Thomas D. Thomas Shows are with the young girl and her family during this extremely difficult time."