Records reveal Fire Ball thrill ride had past history of structural fatigue, cracks

Manufacturer ordered repairs

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A review of service bulletins issued by the Netherlands company that manufactures the Fire Ball thrill ride found "structural fatigue, "cracking" and weakened welds during past inspections.

KMG, the Dutch company that makes more than 100 thrill rides used around the world, issued the service bulletins in 2007 and 2009.

In an Aug. 8, 2007 bulletin, KMG's engineering department said it "discovered that structural fatigue cracking of the swing arm was developing" on the ride also known as "The Afterburner".

The company advised all rides "need to be tested for cracks" by a certified company using visual and magnetic testing "as soon as possible".

In a December 2009 bulletin, KMG described a recent investigation that "discovered that structural steel on some of the over the shoulder restraints" showed welds "to be weakened".

In that report, the investigation also determined the "defects found are not a result of fatigue but are an isolated result of the manufacturing process".

No additional annual inspections were requested.

No injuries, deaths or accidents have been reported in connection with either service bulletins.

In a statement issued Thursday, KMG said it is currently gathering information on the accident involving "The Fire Ball" at the Ohio State Fair and asked "similar type rides to cease operation until further notice."

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