A visit to the Ohio State Fair proved fatal for one 18-year-old, who died when the carnival ride he was on broke apart and crashed to the ground. The ride, called the Fire Ball, appeared to break apart during operation. One section came off and plummeted to the ground killing the man and injuring all seven others in his same section. The state fair stayed open but has closed all the rides.

The accident prompted the California State Fair to stop operating the same type of ride at their midway. The same ride is in operation at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but it has also been shut down until further notice. Additionally, four other similar rides across the state have been shut down including the one that operates at Belmont Park. The cause of the Ohio malfunction is under investigation.

Fire Ball Ride
The Fire Ball ride was built in Holland by KMG, a Dutch manufacturer. Its large arms swing riders up in the air, about 40 feet, and spins at approximately a dozen turns per minute. The ride in California is a similar style and was built by the same company. According to the company, there are 43 rides of this type across the world. They stated that this is the first such accident reported with this particular style of ride. The manufacturer ordered all of these rides to shut down until the cause is determined.

It is important to note that KMG is not involved in maintaining the ride that malfunctioned in Ohio. However, they did assist first responders by phone to help remove injured passengers from their seats. This ride and the others at the fair were inspected before they were allowed to operate. According to reports, the inspectors checked the ride while it was being set up and before it was allowed to open for passengers and they did not notice any problems.

Keeping Rides Safe
Carnival and fair ride safety is overseen on the state level by The Amusement Park Ride and Tramway Unit of the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration, Cal/OSHA. The unit is responsible for inspecting and providing permits for the operation of temporary and permanent amusement rides. A qualified safety inspector (QSI) must perform structural and operational inspections annually on permanent rides. QSI may be employed by OSHA or may be designed by the owner/operator if they are properly certified.

The division is also responsible for making ad-hoc inspections and for responding to any complaints about rides. While there are required inspections, the safety of amusement park rides remains a concern for many parents and others. The ride in Ohio was inspected but still malfunctioned. Although most problems with rides do not result in injuries, when they do, it can be catastrophic. The carnival or ride owner and others could have been negligent when installing, maintaining or operating the ride.

Those who are seriously hurt because of amusement park or carnival ride accidents may be entitled to compensation. Contact the skilled legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss your case today.


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