The story of the Ohio State Fair’s ride malfunction that left several injured and one man dead has made headlines across the country. The ride, called the Fire Ball, swings riders 40 feet in the air while spinning them at 13 revolutions per second. On July 27, the thrill ride ended in tragedy when an unknown malfunction caused sections of the ride to come apart and threw riders great distances at high speeds. The ride had been inspected only hours earlier, prompting the manufacturer to sent notices to operators to suspend use until further notice.
How many people are injured or killed each year by rides?
This disaster is not an isolated incident. From NBC News: “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 30,900 injuries caused by amusement park attractions were seen by hospital emergency departments in 2016 alone. Those injured are out of millions of people who visit carnivals, fairs and festivals each year, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, which represents much of the mobile amusement industry, estimates. Since 2010, the CPSC reports that there have been 22 fatalities caused by thrill rides, including Wednesday’s death in Ohio.”
Just last year, three young girls fell nearly 40 feet when a Ferris wheel cabin tipped over at the Greene County Fair in Tennessee. Worn rivets on the ride failed and allowed a part of the ride to become lodged in the frame, a problem that earlier inspections failed to reveal. One of the girls, just 6 years old, suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent nearly two months on life support following the incident. Her family continues to suffer the consequences of her injuries.
While these are the most recent tragedies, they are by no means the only ones with fatal consequences:
- In July 2015, 18-year-old Gregory Horan died at Ijams Nature Park in Tennessee during a rope course adventure when he fell and his harness malfunctioned, asphyxiating him.
- In January 2015, a 15-year-old Boy Scout died after sustaining a head injury during a zip line ride in Arizona.
- In October 2013, five members of the same family were exiting a ride at the North Carolina State Fair when it began to move. One family member sustained brain and spinal cord injuries.
- In June of 2007, a then 13-year-old girl had her feet severed after a cable broke on the Superman Tower of Power ride, at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Doctors were only able to reattach one of her feet, leaving her permanently disabled.
When fun becomes dangerous
Amusement park rides are designed to thrill us by offering a taste of danger; adrenaline junkies seek the tallest coasters, the longest drops, and the tightest loops. Ride designers and manufacturers walk a tightrope between danger and safety; the biggest thrills also present the biggest risks. Inspection procedures are designed to prevent tragedy, and scheduled maintenance should replace parts before they are in danger of failing, not after. Despite these efforts, incidents like the Ohio State Fair tragedy still happen.
When multiple inspections and best practices aren’t enough to prevent a tragedy, determining fault requires moving up the line. At some point from inception to design to engineering to manufacturing, a mistake caused an accident that ended a young man’s life and left a family grieving an untimely loss.
The Kentucky and Ohio personal injury attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law fight for families who have been affected by an injury or death resulting from negligence. If your loved one was injured or killed because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills or other expenses. For a free consultation, call our Kentucky legal team at 877.651.7764, our Ohio legal team at 877.686.8879, or contact us today.