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Boy hurt in fall from roller coaster

A state agency reported Sunday that an inspection uncovered no problems with the Cypress Gardens roller coaster from which an Orlando boy fell.

Martin Llamas, 13, remained in intensive care at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa, hospital officials said. He had been taken there Saturday after falling from the Triple Hurricane roller coaster at the Polk County theme park. Hospital officials did not comment on his injuries.

"This appears to be a tragic accident. The preliminary investigation is that he came out of the car, went over the rail of the ride and dropped a distance of 10 to 12 feet onto grass," said Carrie Rodgers, spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Cypress Gardens released a statement on Sunday saying that Llamas acted on a dare to maneuver out of his restraint, and stood up before falling as the ride ended. Park officials said they found Llamas' restraint still secured when the coaster stopped.

Llamas's family could not be reached for comment.

State ride inspector Mark Gonzales, who inspected the roller coaster Sunday morning, reported that no deficiencies were found.

"No deficiencies means there's nothing wrong with the ride," said Liz Compton, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture. The Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection checks the equipment after accidents, she said.

Cypress Gardens reopened the coaster Sunday morning after the state's inspection. The Triple Hurricane, a wooden roller coaster that features waves but no loops, has operated since December 2004.

"All rides at the park are thoroughly inspected and tested on a daily basis to ensure they are operating correctly, and we do everything possible to ensure that our guests comply with safety protocols. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man and his family," park CEO Kent Buescher said in a statement.

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