After a 14-year-old fell some 25 feet from a gondola ride and onto the crowd below at Six Flags Great Escape in NY on Saturday, park officials said they hadn't uncovered any malfunction that would have precipitated her fall.
Howard says he stood under the girl and promised he'd catch her.
In a Facebook video captured by fellow park guest Loren Lent on Saturday, June 24, the girl dangles from the Sky Ride as the crowd below tries to help.
Another person was injured as he was trying to help catch the girl.
Authorities said a 47-year-old man was hospitalized after he hurt his back trying to catch the girl, but has since been released.
"It's not something that you could just slip out of", Spiegel said.
"I couldn't let that little girl die", Howard told The AP on Sunday.
According to the Six Flags Great Escape website, riders have to be over 1.2 metres if they want to ride alone. Some witnesses speculated that she may have been trying to kick trees as the ride passed them, but Stockdale said that did not appear to be the case.
The girl was taken to the hospital but sustained no serious injuries.
"As part of our annual practice an evacuation drill is conducted in partnership with local emergency personnel on this particular ride each spring", she said in an emailed response.
In a statement, Six Flags said the New York Department of Labor cleared the gondola ride for operation-but noted that an internal review is pending, meaning nobody can use the ride until it is over.
According to police, the Sky Ride was functioning properly when the teenager and her brother climbed on it at around 8 p.m.