One person was killed and seven others were wounded last Wednesday after a ride malfunctioned at a state fair in Columbus, Ohio, sending passengers flying into the air.
The Ohio State Fair opened for the first time Wednesday when the accident occurred. The ride that malfunctioned is called the “Fire Ball” and sends passengers sitting on one end of the ride up to 40 feet in the area in a pendulum motion while spinning. Once in the air, the ride can spin up to 13 revolutions per minute, according to Amusements of America.
Witnesses say the accident happened at 7:24 p.m. when passengers were flung off the ride. Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old Ohio resident, was killed after being thrown 50 feet from the ride, according to Reuters. Seven others were injured in the malfunction, including five that are in critical condition. Two are expected to make full recoveries.
The age range of those taken to the local hospital for treatment is from 14 to 42 years old, though no details were released about their conditions.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich released a statement about the incident.
“I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair,” he said via Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured. I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.”
KMG International BV, the Dutch manufacturer of the ride, instructed operators to stop using the Fireball and similar rides after several states had already shut down the ride.
“We are currently gathering information on the accident and investigating the cause and circumstances,” KMG product manager Albert Kroon said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Rides at state fairs across the country are being suspended while inspections take place and an investigation into what went wrong occurs.
Officials for the Illinois state labor department told Reuters that inspectors are notifying operators to stop three Fire Ball rides, eight “Freak Out” rides and one “Extreme” ride.
On a portion of the Amusements of America website that appears to be taken down, the Fire Ball is described as an aggressive thrill ride that’s “become one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway” since its debut in 2002.
The Fire Ball was in operation at the California State Fair before it was shut down within 20 minutes of the accident in Ohio.
“It’s one of the more popular rides,” said California State Fair spokeswoman Darla Givens. “My son was just on it yesterday.”
It is unknown when the rides will be reopened.
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