1 dead, several hurt after ride malfunctions at Ohio State Fair

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One person was killed Wednesday evening when a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair, Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Paul A. Pride said. Seven other people were injured, three of whom are in critical condition.

Rhonda Burgess and her three children were at the fair, and one of her sons was in line at the ride next to the one that malfunctioned.

“The ride had four riders per cart. This piece snapped off and the riders came out of the cart,” she said. “At least two (people) flew through the air at least 20 feet before landing on their backs on the concrete.”

Michael Vartorella, chief ride inspector of the Amusement Ride Safety Division, said there were no red flags when inspectors examined the ride earlier.

“It was inspected at couple of different stages and it was signed off today,” he told reporters.

Three patients were transported to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Eileen Scahill said.

David Evans, the center’s medical director, said it was helpful to see video of the incident that was posted to social media.

“Having that video really showed us that this was a great force and a great mechanism, really consistent with a high-speed motor vehicle crash with an ejection, really something more along those lines,” he said.

The hospital staff used knowledge gained from the video to prepare to run CAT scans and look for certain types of injuries.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted his condolences.

“I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured,” Kasich said. “I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.”

State officials began inspecting some of the rides on Monday, CNN affiliate WSYX reported. More than 70 rides were to be inspected.

The Columbus Dispatch reported the inspections were delayed by recent rain. It was the first day of the fair.