The state fair is a staple of summertime. It usually characterized by friends, greasy junk food, and fun, crazy rides.
This year, a tragedy occurred at the Ohio State Fair that no one expected. The Fireball, a popular ride that consists of six rows of seats that spin 40 feet above ground, malfunctioned while riders were in midair.
The entire structure moves like a pendulum and is attached to a central piece of equipment. While at full speed, the structure split and launched several people off of the ride. At least one person was killed and seven others are injured, with two in critical condition.
In an interview with CNN, Rhonda Burgess, an attendee at the fair, said, “The ride had four riders per cart. This piece snapped off and the riders came out of the cart. At least two (people) flew through the air at least 20 feet before landing on their backs on the concrete.”
Kaylie Bellomy, who had been standing in line waiting for the ride, said, “Everybody was running. I got ran over trying to get out of the way. I just don’t think I’ll ever ride a ride ever again.”
The safety officials at the fair commented on the incident, ensuring customers that they had been thorough with safety inspections.
The chief ride inspector of the Amusement Ride Safety Division, Michael Vartorella, said, “My children, grandchildren ride this equipment so our guys do not rush through stuff.”
All of the rides at the fair had been inspected on Monday. While four rides failed the safety test, the Fireball was not one of them. Vartorella said that it had been inspected multiple times and it was signed off as being in good condition.
When he heard the news, Ohio Governor John Kasich initiated a full investigation and ordered all rides to be shut down immediately. He released the following statement:
The fair officials said, “Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident. We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe.”
Below is a video that was taken when the incident occurred, as well as more information about the injured.
Please keep those injured and their families in your prayers. Share your thoughts and prayers on Facebook. Will this keep you from attending your state fair this year? Another terrible accident took place this summer on an amusement park ride. A teen girl survived a fall from a ride and observers captured it all on video. You can watch it here.