Illinois shut down certain rides at county fairs and carnivals in light of a deadly accident at this year’s Ohio State Fair.
One person was killed and seven others were injured after a ride called “Fire Ball” malfunctioned on opening day of the Ohio State Fair. The ride broke while in operation Wednesday and sent people flying into the air. Records show that Fire Ball ride had passed a safety inspection earlier the same day.
The Illinois State Fair will run from Aug. 10-20. A spokesperson released this statement Thursday:
Safety is our number one priority at the Illinois State Fair. We are meeting with our carnival vendor, North American Midway Entertainment (NAME), to discuss safety, review procedures, ect. NAME has been the Illinois State Fair’s carnival vendor since 2005. The Department of Labor handles all our ride inspections. The agency conducts routine and surprise inspections of all amusement rides and attractions at the Illinois State Fair. IDOL’s Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division will inspect and permit every ride and determine if they are safe to operate. No ride is permitted to run if it does not pass inspection. In addition, our carnival cannot open to patrons until each inspection is complete and permits are issued.
Ohio State Fair opens but rides closed after deadly accident
The Ohio State Fair opened Thursday but its amusement rides remained closed one day after a man was killed and seven other people were injured when a thrill ride broke apart and flung people into the air.
Video captured by a bystander at the fair Wednesday evening shows the Fire Ball ride swinging above its bottom platform when a crashing sound is heard. The footage shows one section holding four riders come apart as it begins to swing upward and at least two people tumbling in the air.
Screams are heard as passengers are thrown to the ground.
“Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident,” fair officials said in a Thursday post on Twitter. “We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe.”
Tyler Jarrell, 18, of Columbus, died on the midway, and was one of several people who were thrown to the ground when the ride malfunctioned. The others injured range in age from 14 to 42. At least two of the injured were in critical condition Thursday at Ohio State Medical Center.
Officials are investigating what caused the ride to break apart and would not speculate on possible explanations.
Records show that inspections were up to date and a state permit had just been issued for the ride. Ohio Department of Agriculture records provided Thursday to The Associated Press show passing marks on inspections of about three dozen items including cracks, brakes, proper assembly and installation.
The Fire Ball ride swings 24 riders back and forth like a pendulum while they sit facing each other in four-seat carriages that also spin and are attached to the main arm.
Amusements of America, the company that provides rides to the Ohio State Fair, describes the Fire Ball as an “aggressive thrill ride.” On its website, it says the Fire Ball debuted in 2002 and is one of its most popular rides on the midway. It says it can swing passengers 40 feet (12 meters) above the ground, while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.
The ride’s Dutch manufacturer, KMG, said the one at the Ohio State Fair was built in 1998 in the Netherlands. Forty-three of the rides, also known as the Afterburner, are in use in the U.S. and elsewhere. None has been involved in a serious malfunction before, the company said in an email to The Associated Press.