One person was killed and seven others injured, including two who are in critical condition, after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. According to authorities, the incident took place shortly after 7:00 pm Wednesday evening, the opening day of the fair, when parts of the Fire Ball ride split apart and fell to the ground.
The Fire Ball, a popular ride at the fair that resembles a pendulum and sends six rows of riders as high as 40 feet above the ground, broke apart while it was in operation. A video recording of the incident posted online shows a full row of seats breaking and falling off the structure. Witnesses also report riders being thrown out of their seats and at least 20 feet through the air before landing on concrete.
Wednesday’s incident is a tragedy for all victims and families involved, as well as for the many witnesses who saw this alarming event unfold. Following the incident, Governor John Kasich ordered all fair rides to cease operation and for officials to conduct a full investigation into what took place. This includes a review of inspections conducted prior to opening day. According to officials, the Fire Ball had reportedly been inspected at various stages of its assembly and had no red flags.
Our legal team at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP sends our thoughts and condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. As investigations continue, officials will be paying close attention to what led to the ride malfunctioning and whether it could and should have been prevented. Should they discover that preventable errors or failures to ensure riders’ safety led to the incident, victims and families may have the right to pursue legal action.