Ohio seeking experts to probe fatal amusement ride accident

A ride called Fireball malfunctioned causing numerous injuries at the Ohio State Fair.
A ride called Fireball malfunctioned causing numerous injuries at the Ohio State Fair.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHICAGO (AFP) - A deadly accident in which a ride at the Ohio State Fair broke apart mid-air was a "nightmare," officials said on Thursday (July 27), as they sought help from experts around the country to help determine the cause.

Investigators were unable to provide much, if any, information on what caused a section of the Fire Ball ride - a pendulum swing with rows of seats attached by spokes - to fracture mid-air on Wednesday evening.

"I can't tell you with a matter of certainty how many days or weeks this will take," said Paul Pride, chief of the Ohio Highway Patrol which is carrying out the investigation.

"We're kind of looking across the country to make sure that we get the right folks in here to give us an independent view of the machine, the process, everything," he said at a news conference at the fairgrounds.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed and seven others injured when a section of the ride came apart, hurtling people to the ground.

Some of the injured, who ranged in age from 14 to 42, were on the ride while others were struck by debris.

"I think about that moment when some were thrown from that carriage. That's a nightmare," said Ohio Governor John Kasich.


"I don't want to speculate on what caused this, because we have to do the full and complete investigation," he said.

All rides at the fair remained closed Thursday as inspectors re-examined each one.

Officials said the failing ride had passed an inspection Wednesday, the first day of the fair in the state capital Columbus.

"Amusement rides are mechanised pieces of equipment. They can fail from time to time," said David Daniels of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of inspections.

The ride's operator, New Jersey-based Amusements of America, did not return requests for comment.