Ohio State Fair Ride Breaks: One Dead, Others Injured

Ohio State Fair Bruce Lamm/Twitter

The scene at the Ohio State Fair after the ride 'Fire Ball' broke.

One person is dead and seven others are injured after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair Wednesday evening, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A disturbing video of the accident was shared on social media. You can watch it below, but be aware that it’s very disturbing.

A caller said he heard a loud boom from a ride called “Fire Ball” and that there were numerous injuries, according to Springfield News-Sun.

The victim killed in the accident has been identified as 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell, who recently graduated from Franklin Heights High School and enlisted in the Marines on July 22.

According to the newspaper, the man was “thrown from the ride” and killed on impact. One eyewitness told The Dispatch that “he heard a loud sound of metal cracking then looked to see two men being thrown off the ride, one of them from up high.” The cause of the ride malfunction has not yet been determined.

The video, which was widely shared on YouTube and Twitter, shows people falling off the ride.

One woman took video of first responders helping victims.

A girl took video of the aftermath after surviving the ride.

According to Martin, one of the rows of seats on the ride “snapped off.”

Another Ohio State Fair attendee, who goes by @eckardbills on Twitter, shared photos from the scene:

The incident took place at around 7:24 p.m., according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

As of late Thursday morning, NBC Columbus reported that at least four of the injured people remain hospitalized.

Three victims being treated at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center have all undergone surgery, but will require more surgery and rehab. One victim is an adult teenager, another in their 20’s and the third is in their mid-40’s. One victim is in serious condition while the other two are in critical condition, according to NBC Columbus.

Two people were discharged from Grant Medical Center Thursday morning, according to officials. One person remains in critical condition.

Authorities have released a list of the injured:

Tamika Dunap, 36, Reynoldsburg, OH
Russell Franks, 42, Columbus, OH
Keziah Lewis, 19, Columbus, OH
Jacob Andrews, 22, Pataskala, OH
Jennifer Lambert, 18, Columbus, OH
Abdihakim Hussein, 19, Columbus, OH
A 14-year-old male whose name is being withheld at request of the family

All rides at the Fair have been closed until they are inspected again. The Fire Ball had been inspected several times, including by a third-party company, according to NBC Columbus. Ohio Department of Agriculture chief ride inspector Michael Vartorella said that the inspection process in lengthy, as the ride has several pieces to it.

Amusements of America is the company providing rides at the State Fair this year, according to NBC Columbus. The Fire Ball ride is described as an “aggressive thrill” ride on their official website. The ride “swings riders 40′ above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.” The ride holds 24 passengers in four-seat sections at the end of six spoke arms.

The ride was built by Dutch manufacturer KMG. According to the KMG website, construction of the attraction takes three to four hours with a three person crew. In the United States, the ride is commonly known as the Fire Ball. When marketed in other countries, it is called the Afterburner.

You can read the State of Ohio inspection documents for the ride here. They show that inspections, including one on July 26, found nothing amiss with the ride.

Here’s video of a 2017 inspection of the ride:

In the wake of the accident, North Carolina, California and Texas have already stopped operations of all Fire Ball rides, according to NEWS5 Cleveland.

Ohio Governor John Kasich offered prayers in a statement as news of the tragedy spread, saying that a full investigation would be conducted.

At Wednesday night’s press conference, Kasich called the incident “the worst accident in the history of the fair.” Kasich said that the Fair will be open on Thursday, but rides will not be open till they clear a new round of inspections. Kasich went on to say:

This particular ride was inspected multiple times. Was also a third party inspector who he witnessed inspecting this ride. We will get to the bottom of this. We will investigate it. We will have some records for you available this evening that will show how this particular ride was inspected and release that all to you. Of course, we want to get to the bottom of this. There may be things that will be learned that can help people in other states.

Kasich also held a news conference at the fair the day after the tragedy.

“We take this job very serious and when we have a tragedy like this it hits us really hard,” added Vartorella at the press conference. ” My children, my grandchildren ride this equipment, out guys do not rush through this stuff. Every day it’s required to do pre-opening inspections. (It’s) been looked at three or four times over the course of (few) days.”

Full video of the press conference available below:

The Ohio State Fair released the following statement late Wednesday night:

Many people expressed shock and horror over what happened at the fair, especially after watching the video.

Wednesday was the opening day for the fair, which runs until August 6.

(This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more details are available)

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