(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Excessive corrosion of the Fire Ball ride led to the accident that killed a teenager and injured seven others at the Ohio State Fair in July, according to the manufacturer of the attraction.
All rides at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus were shut down after 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed after the Fire Ball ride he was on fell apart in mid-air on July 26.
Corrosion on the interior of the support beam reduced the beam’s thickness, which led to the accident at the fair, KMG International said in a statement released Sunday. The company said it conducted an investigation into the incident, which included a visit to the scene and a review of video footage of the incident. The company also conducted a metallurgical inspection of the ride.
Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz said that Jarrell died of blunt force trauma, suffering head, trunk and lower extremity injuries when the Fire Ball malfunctioned.
Seven people were also injured — several critically — and have been identified by authorities as Tamika Dunlap, 36; Russell Franks, 42; Keziah Lewis, 19; Jacob Andrews, 22; Jennifer Lambert, 18; and Abdihakim Hussein, 19. A 14-year-old boy was wounded but his name has not been publicly released.
After the deadly incident, similar rides across the country were shut down as a precaution.
The Monmouth County Fair in New Jersey immediately shut down a ride similar to the Ohio State Fair’s Fire Ball after the incident, ABC station WABC-TV in New York reported. A similar ride at the Orange County Fair in California was also shut down to undergo a re-inspection after the Ohio incident, ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles said.
North American Midway Entertainment, which is not a provider of the Ohio State Fair rides, said in a statement Thursday that “due to the tragic incident … we will keep all our Fire Ball rides closed until further notice from the manufacturer for precautionary safety measures.”
The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center also issued a statement, saying, “As the investigation into the cause of this accident continues, the Indiana State Fair and North American Midway Entertainment have made the decision to not operate the Fireball at the 2017 Indiana State Fair.”
The Illinois Department of Labor said it is also suspending the operation of all rides similar to the Fire Ball until further notice.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it is aware of 22 deaths associated with amusement attractions since 2010, including Wednesday’s incident, but excluding water park and work-related fatalities.
The CPSC estimates there were 30,900 injuries “associated with amusement attractions” at emergency rooms in 2016 — a 14.2 percent increase since 2013, which saw 27,054 such injuries.
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