PORT TOWNSEND (AP) — The company that owns a Ferris wheel three people fell off in Washington state says the riders may have caused the accident themselves.

Ron Burback, president of Oregon-based Funtastic Rides, told The Seattle Times that ride operators had asked the three to remain seated while the ride was in motion.

The accident happened on The Phoenix Wheel, a 40-foot-tall (12-meter-tall) ride at the Rhododendron Festival in Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula northwest of Seattle.

Two women and a 7-year-old boy fell about 12 to 15 feet (3.5 to 4.5 meters) when the gondola they were in tipped Thursday. One woman was hospitalized with serious injuries, while the others were treated and released.

A witness in the next gondola told KING-TV it didn't appear the three began moving until the one they were in started coming apart.