COLUMBUS, OHIO (July 28, 2017) – An 18-year-old man, who had just joined the United States Marine Corps, was killed Wednesday when a ride broke apart at the Ohio State Fair.
The man who was killed was identified as Tyler Jarrell of Columbus, Ohio. Seven others, who ranged in age from 14 to 42 years old, were injured when the Fire Ball ride malfunctioned and sent riders flying into the air, FOX News reports. A video posted online of the horrifying accident shows parts of the structure, including a full row of seats, split up and fall.
The manufacturer of the fairground ride involved in the accident, KMG, says the ride was built in 1998 in the Netherlands and that there are 43 similar rides around the world, including 11 in the United States. The Ohio accident was the first serious malfunction on one of the rides.
The chief ride inspector for Ohio’s Division of Amusement Ride Safety said the ride was inspected multiple times prior to the accident, and each time it passed. So what caused the ride to break apart while it was in motion Wednesday?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio State Highway Patrol superintendent promised a thorough investigation into what caused the thrill ride to send riders suddenly tumbling through the air.
The fair opened Thursday, but all the rides were shut down and will go through another inspection.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Indiana State Fair – and other amusement parks across the country – announced it would not operate the Fire Ball ride at its fair, which is scheduled to begin next week.
This most recent tragedy comes just a year after a 10-year-old boy was killed after flying off a water slide. These frightening incidents are a reminder that not all amusement park oversight is equal.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. Partner Patrick Salvi Jr. says there are no federal government regulations when it comes to the safety and inspections of amusement park rides, so it is up to state and local governments to regulate amusement parks. In fact, twenty states have government oversight over amusement and water parks, while nine states have none at all.
Here in Illinois, the Illinois Amusement Park Safety Act mandates that rides must be insured, inspected, and meet applicable safety standards before they can operate.
With so many ride tragedies in the past year, it is important for thrill-seekers to educate themselves on the risks some rides pose to avoid falling victim to an accident on one of these permanent rides. Families planning a trip to their local water park should remember to:
If you or someone you love is injured on an amusement or water park ride, call our office at (312) 372-1227 to learn more about your rights.