Show ride accident: One dead, several injured
A DEADLY ride malfunction has left one man dead and seven more injured - several critically - at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, USA.
The swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, hurling people through the air. Bystanders said they heard metal cracking as the ride broke apart.
Ohio's governor Republican Gov. John Kasich is calling it "a terrible, terrible tragedy."
Dramatic video captured by a bystander and circulating on social media shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum and spinning in the air before it crashed and part of the ride flew off, throwing riders to the ground with it.
In the video, a row of seats appears to snap off the ride as it begins to swing up.
Some passengers appear hit the ground with the seat section, while at least two others are hurled through the air.
The victims range in age between 13 and 41 years old, with the Columbus Dispatch saying the dead man was 18 years old.
Battalion Chief Steve Martin, a spokesman for the Columbus Fire Division, said some of the victims were thrown from the Fire Ball ride during the incident at approximately 7.20pm.
One man was thrown high into the air and landed on the ground about 15 metres from the ride, Martin said. He was killed on impact.
Three other people - including another person seen flying from the ride - were in critical condition and four more were in stable condition, authorities said on Wednesday night..
"AGGRESSIVE THRILL RIDE"
A company providing rides at the fair this year describes the Fire Ball as an "aggressive thrill" ride.
Kasich has ordered a full investigation and ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.
Kasich said before this happened, he always thought of the fair, which opened Wednesday, as one of "the best things in life."
In a statement posted on its Twitter page, the fair says it is investigating. It did not immediately respond to a request seeking further comment.
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 12 metres above the midway, while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute. The company did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
RIDE PASSED INSPECTIONS
The Fire Ball ride had passed pre-fair inspections, officials said.
Director of Agriculture David Daniels said all of the rides are checked several times when they are being set up to ensure they are set up the way the manufacturer intended.
"We started out today with 11 rides that did not open because the inspection work was not done on them," said Daniels, adding that four rides will not be operating because they do not meet the mechanical test.
Ride inspectors said the Fire Ball ride was inspected at a couple of different stages and was signed off on Wednesday.