Wednesday, the Ohio State Fair in Columbus has already encountered a problem on its opening day. As reported by 10TV, a ride known as the Fire Ball malfunctioned during normal operations, killing one person and injuring seven others as it broke apart.
While authorities have declined to identify any of the victims at this point in time, it has been confirmed that the seven injured are in stable condition at various hospitals and medical centers in the area. Due to the accident, Governor John Kasich has ordered a full investigation and shutdown of all rides at the fair until Thursday.
Amusements of America, the company that provides various rides to amusement parks and fairs, described the Fire Ball as “an aggressive thrill ride” and has been “one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway” since it first appeared in 2002. The ride’s specifications claim that it is designed to swing riders 40 feet into the air while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute. Amusements of America representatives have remained silent when asked for comment on the incident.
According to Director of Agriculture David Daniels, all rides at the fair were inspected and approved multiple times prior to opening the fair. Four rides will not be opening this season as they did not pass inspection, while eleven others were still undergoing the inspection process during the hours of operation. The Fire Ball, however, did pass inspection. Whether an unforeseen error occurred during operations or human incompetence in the testers is to blame is not known at this point in time.
While the State Fair did not initially respond to questioning following the incident, but has recently posted on its Twitter account the following statement: “There has been a report of a ride incident. We are investigating and will report information as available.”