As we frequently state on this blog, when parents bring their children to fairs, carnivals, and other events where rides are present they expect the rides to be safe and free from defects. However, children aren’t the only ones who enjoy riding carnival attractions. In fact, some thrill rides are marketed predominately towards young adults. Unfortunately, expectations regarding ride safety are not always met and serious injuries are even more likely on thrill rides involving high speeds and potentially precarious situations.
Unfortunately, two serious incidents occurred at festivals and carnivals in the last week of July. These incidents produced serious injuries.
Woman Falls In Amusement Park Super Shot Ride Accident
On Monday, July 18, 2016, a serious ride malfunction occurred at the Frederick County Fair in Virginia. A 47-year old woman was riding a ride known as the “Super Shot.” The Super Shot is a ride that accelerates quickly upwards and carries the rider to extreme heights. Unfortunately, on this ride, investigators say that a cable on the ride snapped. The snapped cable was connected the-the woman’s seat When the cable broke, her seat plummeted 40 feet to the ground.
Reports indicate that the woman had multiple serious injuries, and was taken to the Winchester Medical Center. The hospital would not offer additional details regarding the extent of severity of the injuries. However, injuries sustained from a 40-foot fall could very well include serious injuries like broken bones, concussion or other TBI, and other serious injuries. In a Facebook post describing the incident, a local journalist wrote, “Seat broke off of the ride and she crashed through the metal plate floor.”
Investigators are unsure why the cable broke and an investigation is underway. In this case, the investigation is being handled by the county’s building inspectors. It will be interesting to see whether this accident is attributed to preventable reasons such as improper or insufficient maintenance or if some type of defect is discovered in the ride design or in the cable itself.
Five injured in Cass County Fair “Octopus” Ride Accident
In another late-July incident, five people suffered injuries at the Cass County Fair in Iowa when a ride malfunctioned. The ride involved in this incident is the “Octopus” ride. This ride apparently spins around cars that are suspended in the air.
According to Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green, a piece of the ride became detached from the ride while it was in operation. Investigators believe that a pivot pin used on the ride sheared. The sheared pivot pin failed to secure a part of the ride that secured the cars carrying riders. The car plummeted to the ground injuring a mother, her two teenaged sons, and two other riders. All injured riders were taken to the Cass County Memorial Hospital for treatment. While the full extent of injuries is unknown, it appears that at least one rider suffered serious injuries since at least one rider was then transported to an Omaha hospital.
The cause for the ride’s mechanical failure is not yet known. Potential causes could include a defectively manufactured pivot pin, insufficient maintenance and repair, and improper ride set-up. The ride has been shut down and investigators with the Iowa Department of Labor and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Division will assess the scene to determine the reason for the failure.
Contact a Pennsylvania Amusement Park Injury Lawyer
Many people frequently wonder who inspects rides so that the public is protected against unsafe ride designs, insufficient maintenance, and other unsafe practices. In truth, there is no national or comprehensive system of regulation for fairs, carnivals, and other events of this type. Rather, a patchwork of state rules and regulations apply. In some states, regulation is virtually non-existent. The lack of a consistent regulatory regime not only potentially places riders at risk of roller coaster injury but also makes it difficult for parents and caregivers to assess the risk presented by a particular fair or carnival.