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The New York State Department of labor has concluded that ride operator error at Darien Lake Theme Park caused the death two weeks ago of former Army Sgt. James Hackemer. 

The 29-year-old Iraq war veteran, who lost both legs to a roadside bomb, fell from the park’s “Ride of Steel” Roller Coaster on July 8.

An investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office concluded that the ride operators violated the park’s own rules by allowing the double amputee to ride the coaster.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Darien Lake General Manager Christopher Thorpe declared the “Ride of Steel” was safe to ride. In a carefully worded statement, Thorpe acknowledged that the rules were not followed. He avoided accepting any responsibility for the actions or inactions of the ride operators.

The following are excerpts from the News Conference:

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