Maikon Bonani, a 20-year-old starter kicker for University of South Florida, fell 35 feet from a gondola ride while working at Busch Gardens in Tampa. The park did not immediately release the name of the injured employee, but USF identified him as one of their football players.
Bonani had been working at the Skyride attraction. According to a park statement, Bonani had just sent passengers out on a gondola, when he thought the door might be unlocked. He held onto the door to check it and the gondola took off with the passengers. Bonani let go at 35 feet above ground and fell into a landscaped area.
Spokeswoman Jill Revelle said that he was trying to make sure the passengers were safe. She said that no one else was injured in the accident.
Revelle reported that Bonani was responsive but taken to a hospital as a precaution. Bonani was listed as fair condition in St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Jim Leavitt, a USF football coach, had visited Bonani in the hospital and said that he may have injured his vertebra.
“He’s in pain, but doing fine and resting,” said Leavitt.