State investigators found nothing mechanically wrong with the slow-moving amusement park water ride in which a 7-year-old boy was killed, Westchester County officials said Thursday.
Meanwhile, a coroner declared that the boy's death was caused by blunt head trauma.
At a boardwalk news conference at the county-owned Playland amusement park, where the boy was mortally injured Wednesday afternoon, parks Commissioner Joseph Stout said the preliminary conclusion of a state Department of Labor team was that there was "no apparent mechanical failure" at Ye Old Mill boat ride.
The inspectors also concluded that the Norwalk, Conn., boy, whose name was being withheld at his family's request, "was not seated in the boat when he came out of it."
Playland Director Joseph Montalto said riders have occasionally gotten out of the boats during the six-minute ride through a tunnel, usually for "mischief," though there are several signs warning riders to stay in their seats.
"You find them running around the ride," he said. "Sometimes they want to scare somebody in the boat behind them, sometimes they want to go play with some of the exhibits," most of which are scenes of trolls and gnomes.
He said he knew of no injuries caused by such behavior before and said 80,000 people a year go through the ride safely.
The boat ride, which is one of the original attractions at the 77-year-old park, will be closed for at least a week until the Department of Labor's full report is received, Montalto said. He said he didn't know if there was any dip in attendance caused by news of the boy's death.
Stout, the parks commissioner, said employees were "taking this very much to heart." It was the second death on a park ride in 15 months.
County police Commissioner Thomas Belfiore said three people who were on the ride at about the same time as the boy had been interviewed but didn't remember seeing him. He asked that anyone who was on the ride at about 4 p.m. Wednesday come forward to be interviewed.
Though each boat can hold several passengers, the boy was riding by himself, having passed the 42-inch height requirement. The boy's mother waited through two circuits of the ride for him to come out, then notified the operators that he was missing, Belfiore said.
The ride operators, then a park ranger and then police officers searched for him before finding his body under a conveyor belt that loads the boats into the ride, he said.
Montalto said two state inspectors searched, operated and rode in Ye Old Mill on Thursday, interviewed the operators and reviewed the ride's manual.
The boy's autopsy was performed in Connecticut because he was pronounced dead at Greenwich Hospital. A spokesman at the state medical examiner's office said the death was caused by blunt head trauma and was accidental.
In May 2004, a 7-year-old girl was killed on the park's spinning Mind Scrambler ride. Investigators concluded that the girl wriggled free of a restraining bar, knelt on the ride's seat and fell soon after it started.
Playland, a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1928. The amusement park scenes in the Tom Hanks movie "Big" were filmed there.
The park has more than 50 rides, a pool and a beach on Long Island Sound and receives more than a million visitors a year.