Tragedy struck the Ohio State Fair Wednesday night, when a ride known as “The Fireball” malfunctioned, killing one person and injuring seven others.
The ride, a usual favorite of the carnival circuit, features six rows of seats facing inward, attached to a giant arm that swings back and forth like a pendulum, reaching 40 feet at its highest point, while also spinning in a circle.
Chaos erupted when a piece of the ride snapped while in motion, sending a full row of seats hurdling to the ground. A witness described the incident in detail to CNN, explaining that two people fell from at least 20 feet, landing on their backs on the concrete.
“A Great Mechanism” Wreaks Havoc At Ohio State Fair
Three people were transported to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as of 4 a.m., one was in serious condition and two were in critical condition
David Evans, the center’s medical director, confirmed eyewitness accounts, stating that “multiple passengers were ejected at high speed, at high energy more than 20 feet or more.”
Dr. Evans also addressed the video footage that has been circulating, documenting the tragic incident as it happened. He explained that the videos posted on social media have been helpful, from a medical perspective, as they really show “that this was a great force and a great mechanism, really consistent with a high-speed motor vehicle crash with an ejection.”
The other four people who were injured were taken to Ohio Health Grant Medical Center.
What Went Wrong At The Ohio State Fair?
The exact cause of the malfunction remains unclear. Inspectors ran into some difficulty leading to the fair’s opening day, due to recent storms and flooding. Nevertheless, around 70 rides were ultimately inspected, including the Fireball.
Michael Vartorella, chief ride inspector of the Amusement Ride Safety Division, insures that these inspections were not taken lightly, saying, “My children, my grandchildren ride this equipment, so our guys do not rush through this stuff.”
Four rides did, in fact, fail inspection, but The Fireball was not one of them.
Though the root of the malfunction remains a mystery, the incident inspired California State Fair organizers on the other side of the country to shut down the ride as an extra safety precaution.
Ohio Governor John Kasich Responds To State Fair Tragedy
Gov. Kasich's statement on tonight's incident at the Ohio State Fair. pic.twitter.com/PFjfHWMIab— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) July 27, 2017
Kasich referred to the incident at the Ohio State Fair, which typically draw thousands and thousands of people every year, as a “terrible, terrible tragedy.” He immediately called for a full investigation and ordered all the rides to be shut down.
Most activities will resume Thursday, with the exception of the rides, which will undergo new inspections.