Fair ride that broke apart passed inspections


The Associated Press



A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball that broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, killing one man and injuring seven other people, passed its inspections, officials said at a late-night news conference.

Director of Agriculture David Daniels said all of the rides are checked several times when they are being set up to ensure they are set up the way the manufacturer intended.

“We started out today with 11 rides that did not open because the inspection work was not done on them,” said Daniels, adding that four rides will not be operating because they do not meet the mechanical test.

Ride inspectors said the Fire Ball ride was inspected at a couple of different stages and was signed off Wednesday.

Republican Gov. John Kasich has ordered that all of the rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.

“The fair is about the best things in life, and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Kasich said.

The man who was killed was one of several people who were thrown when the ride malfunctioned, officials said. Three of the injured remains hospitalized in critical condition late Wednesday.

Dramatic video captured by a bystander shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum and spinning in the air when it crashes into something and part of the ride flies off, throwing riders to the ground.

A company providing rides at the fair this year describes the Fire Ball as an “aggressive thrill” ride.

On its website, Amusements of America says that since its debut in 2002, the Fire Ball has become “one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway.” The company description of the ride says it swings riders 40 feet (12 meters) above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.

The company did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Officials said the fair, which runs through Aug. 6, would be open Thursday, but reiterated that the rides would not be open until they are fully inspected.

The Associated Press