Riders ejected from attraction at state fair in Ohio, 1 dead

'Fireball' ride malfunctions at fair in Ohio
Posted at 8:07 PM, Jul 26, 2017

The Ohio State Highway patrol has identified the one person has died and seven who were injured when a "Fireball" ride malfunctioned Wednesday evening at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

The person killed was a 18-year-old man, identified as Tyler Jarrell of Columbus.

The incident took place at 7:24 p.m. local time, which is when Ohio Highway Patrol was notified of the incident.

Among the seven injured, three are in critical condition, according to Paul Pride of the Ohio Highway Patrol. They are identified as Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus, Ohio, Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, Ohio, Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus, Ohio and Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus, Ohio. 14-year-old boy was also injured but his name is being withheld at the request of the family.

Multiple eyewitnesses said that a row of the ride snapped off, causing several riders to plunge to the ground. A video that has gone viral on several social networking platforms confirms that a gondola snapped from the ride. 

Dr. David Evans of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, which received three patients from the incident, said, "Multiple passengers were ejected at high speed" from the ride, traveled at least 20-30 feet and then "crashed at a significant distance from the ride."

Wednesday marked the first day of the 11-day long fair. The ride was said to have been inspected multiple times, including by a third-party inspector. Michael Vartorella, chief ride inspector of the Amusement Ride Safety Division, told reporters Wednesday night that the ride had no red flags during inspections. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich has ordered all rides and attractions at the Ohio State Fair to shut down until every ride has been inspected. Kasich called the accident, "The worst tragedy in the history of the fair."

"This particular ride was inspected multiple times, including by a third-party inspector," Kasich said. 

Kasich said the fair would reopen on Thursday, but the rides would remain closed pending inspection.

Video contributed by an eyewitness shows medical personnel providing treatment to several riders. 

According to Kasich, 11 rides had not passed inspection by Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening, only four rides at the fair did not pass inspection.

Last year, the Ohio State fair welcomed 921,000 guests, which was just shy of the fair's all-time record.