Spinning Ohio State Fair ride breaks apart; 1 dead, 7 hurt
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, hurtling people through the air, killing at least one and injuring seven others.
Three of the injured remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday night, authorities said at a late-night news conference.
“The fair is about the best things in life, and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” said Republican Gov. John Kasich.
The man who was killed was one of several people who were thrown when the ride malfunctioned, Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin said earlier.
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.
“All of the rides at the fair are checked several times when they are being set up to ensure they are set up the way the manufacturer intended,” said Director of Agriculture David Daniels, adding that the Fire Ball passed its inspections.
“We started out today with 11 rides that did not open because the inspection work was not done on them,” said Daniels. Four rides will not be operating because they do not meet the mechanical test, he said.
Kasich has ordered that all of the rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.
The fair runs through Aug. 6.