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July 28, 2017

One person killed, seven others injured after amusement park ride malfunctions at Ohio State Fair

One person was tragically killed and seven others were injured when an amusement park ride broke apart on July 26, 2017, opening day at the Ohio State Fair.

The popular ride, called the Fire Ball, contained at least six rows of seats that were designed to spin through the air like a pendulum 40 feet above the ground. A full row of seats, however, broke free from the ride while it was in motion and fell to the ground, according to news reports.

The person killed in the accident has been identified as an 18-year-old from Columbus, Ohio. The seven others injured ranged in age from 14 to 42, two of which were said to be in critical condition.

Shortly after the accident, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for an investigation and ordered all 71 rides at the fair closed to undergo repeat inspections. "The fair is about the best things in life and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy," Kasich said in a news conference after the accident.

Amusement rides in Ohio are regulated and inspected by the Amusement Ride Safety division of the state’s Department of Agriculture. Inspectors oversaw the assembly of the Fire Ball in the days before the fair opened and signed off that the ride was safe.

Additionally, a permit for the ride showed that it was provided by carnival operator Amusements of America, according to news reports, and it was previously housed and inspected by the company at one of its facilities in Florence, S.C. What caused the ride to break apart remains under investigation.

Read attorney Mary Schiavo’s blog on the lack of federal oversight of amusement parks.