A LOUD bang alerted bystanders to the fact that something had gone horribly wrong.
Brayden Killeen lay helplessly trapped and yelling for help - four metres off the ground - under the arms of a 40-tonne carnival ride, which somehow collapsed while the 20-year-old worked to dismantle it.
Despite the frantic efforts of those on the scene, nothing could be done to save the young man's life.
It was a tragic end to a family Christmas Carols by Torchlight event that has been staged at Collingwood Park State School for many years.
The school's back oval was closed off yesterday, with some of the carnival rides still left behind as police officers and hydraulic experts from Workplace Health and Safety began their investigations.
Ipswich police Inspector Keith McDonald said the investigations aimed to pinpoint the source of the failure that caused the arms to collapse.
With storms and rain rolling through, the event had wrapped up quickly, about 8.30pm on Tuesday night, with carnival ride workers deciding whether to pack up or leave equipment overnight to dismantle in the morning.
The fatal incident occurred about 9.15pm.
The ride was described as the well-known chair swing type, where chairs are suspended from chains, which are attached to large metal booms.
It was operated by Affordable Amusement Rides Brisbane.
"Some kind of failure has occurred - as to what that failure is, we don't know at this stage," Insp McDonald said.
"It was raining at the time and the crowds had dispersed when the storms arrived."
Insp McDonald said bystanders had tried to reduce the amount of weight that was being forced on Mr Killeen before emergency services arrived.
"As you can imagine, the QAS and QFES personnel have arrived to a very traumatic scene," he said.
"The young man was about four metres up above the ground, caught between steel pipes and chains, so there was extreme difficulty in providing any sort of first aid or emergency treatment.
"This is a very traumatic incident where a young man has been robbed of his life in the lead up to Christmas."
Tributes flowed on Mr Killeen's Facebook page, with his mother, Louise Holtom, paying tribute by saying: "My beautiful boy with a beautiful heart, I will always love you. Thank you for picking me to be your mum, you were taken to soon R.I.P xxxxxxxxxxxxx - feeling sad."
Local area Councillor Victor Attwood, who has opened the Collingwood Park State School Christmas event every year for the last 14 years, said his heart went out to the man's family. He was at the event until about 15 minutes before the accident.
"I would like to pass on my condolences to the man's family," he said.