When parents take their children to a carnival or other amusement center, they expect safe rides. They expect to pay for rides that have been properly maintained to protect their child’s safety. Furthermore parents expect rides to be inspected thoroughly and frequently. Unfortunately mistakes can occur. Ride assemblers can forget to tighten a screw and an inspector can fail to notice the oversight. When circumstances like these combine, injuries often follow.
Accident at the Market Fair Carnival Grounds
It was opening night at the Market Fair Carnival Grounds. Children, teens, and adults were excited to experience one of the first summer events of 2015. Unfortunately, the carnival would prove to be short-lived due to an accident on one of its rides.
For small children, slow revolving rides where a vehicle revolves around a central point have been popular for generations. Perhaps the earliest version of this type of ride was the carousel. While the horses and ornate carriages that typically adorned this type of ride were appropriate for an earlier era, today’s children are not as widely exposed to horses and carriages. And thus, a broad array of rides that capture this basic principle, but with different themes and additional age-appropriate safety precautions was developed. Some of the rides, like many kiddie car or truck-style rides, travel on a track on a platform. Other rides have cars that are suspended in the air from a central pillar. Space themes, birds and other flying creatures are popular for these types of spinning rides.
Unfortunately, the accident occurred on a children’s ride where miniaturized motorcycles revolve in a circle. Once the ride started moving, it quickly became clear that something was not right. Eyewitnesses report that three of the miniature motorcycles’ accelerated off the platform entirely. 2 little girls and one young boy were strapped into the motorcycle.
JCOnline, a local-area paper, reported that several parents took their children to the hospital for treatment. Reports from the next day appear to indicate that the scare the children and parents experienced may have been worse than the injuries. Most of the children appear to have only suffered scrapes and bruises. One girl appeared to have injured her wrist and one boy was bleeding from his mouth, but this situation could have been significantly worse.
The ride was inspected. Operator error was to blame.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that the rides were inspected by regulators in Indiana. Indiana state law requires Furthermore, the company who owns and operates the ride appears to have a fairly clean record. The company was cited for only two minor violations in 2007. State regulators state that there are no plans to fine the carnival for this accident.
Here, the culprit for the accident appears to be operator error. While the reasons why are unclear, it appears that the three motorcycles that fell off of the ride had not been properly attached. It is unknown why the problem did not present itself prior to being operated with human riders.
The owner of the carnival remarked that this is the first time he has had an accident in 25 years. The fair was shutdown after the accident. The next day reports emerged that the fairgrounds would not allow the rides to re-open. We will continue to monitor this situation for any additional developments regarding the reasons for the failure to secure the motorcycles or if any additional information becomes available.