OT: Ride malfunction at Ohio State fair

Submitted by UMxWolverines on July 28th, 2017 at 9:31 AM
http://abcnews.go.com/US/critical-injured-report-incident-ride-ohio-sta… I know we all joke about fair rides being held together by duct tape and zip ties put together by some questionable people(of course we all ride them anyway) but Jesus. One person was killed and 7 other injured. The video just makes your stomach turn. RIP young man and hopefully everyone else makes a full recovery.



July 28th, 2017 at 9:58 AM ^

What got me was the sound. I actually watched the video first without any sound and didn't think much of it (I mean the impact the video alone had on me... the whole situation is tragic). When I went to show my wife last night I had the sound on and hearing the crunching, machine failure, and screams makes a completely different impression. It went from "oh, that's awful" to "I never want to watch that again" quick.


July 28th, 2017 at 10:55 AM ^

with a more edited version. They stop this one before anything happens and you just hear one clank. No screams or anything. Still scary as hell, though. Seems fortunate more weren't killed. That seat thing doesn't look real light. 


July 28th, 2017 at 11:07 AM ^

If you listen real carefully to a version with sound (I've seen it 10 times), right before the "crash" you can hear a woman say, "No, this will be FUN!" Yikes, definitely not a future-seer. 

Wolverine In Iowa 68

July 28th, 2017 at 9:56 AM ^

from reports, the ride was inspected 4 times before it was ever run with passengers, and it STILL failed.

I've never been one to go on rides at state fairs, and this kind of strengthens my resolve not to.

Everyone Murders

July 28th, 2017 at 10:24 AM ^

We don't know what the inspection procedures were.  Sometimes the maintenance/inspection manual is faulty.  Sometimes there are undectable issues (for example, there may have been metal fatigue or some other part failure that was not detectable even during a careful and thorough inspection, or a general design failure in the ride).

The point being that we should not assume that by-the-book inspection would have prevented this.  We can be sure that this one will be investigated thoroughly, given the visibility this is getting - and that issue will undoubtedly be a focal point.


July 28th, 2017 at 11:18 AM ^

That, along with missing fasteners, was my first impression when I saw the video. It seemed to fail at a point in the structure where stresses would be high.

Metal fatigue can be very difficult to detect in the best of cases. Dye penetrants, X-rays, vibration testing, and other means are typically needed. They're time-consuming and often expensive. 

Everyone Murders

July 28th, 2017 at 12:12 PM ^

Metal fatigue, corrosion, fastener failure, or hydraulic failure.  Something happened to cause the seating area to travel lower than expected, hitting the fixed frame.

Some of this could have been detected, some not.  As you note, non-destructive testing of carnival rides is an expensive proposition and not foolproof.  Metal fatigue (and hydraulic failure) can be particularly hard to detect.

Everyone Murders

July 28th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

From what I've seen, those rides are set up so that you hit a switch to turn it on, and it either goes off after a set period of time, or the operator hits an off switch.  Hard to cause such a horrific accident by hitting an on-off switch. 

There's a theoretical risk of overtemping the machinery by letting it run too long, causing a failure.  And there may be a maintenance function that got overlooked (e.g., not checking lubricant levels or bearing wear if that's part of routine maintenance).  None of that would, in my mind, be operator error though.   


July 28th, 2017 at 11:32 AM ^

If I had to guess, the inspection probably entails some functional checks (e-stops work, harnesses latch, etc.) and some general visual inspections. If some interlock failed or a metal piece gave way or something like that, no daily inspection will ever catch it

From the video I saw, it looked like a whole carriage of that ride came off with a loud clank. That's probably a mechanical failure of some kind. I doubt an inspection would catch that


July 28th, 2017 at 12:10 PM ^

problem is that these are man made machines with a certain shelf life, depending on use and maintenence, but even under ideal conditions, these things are eventually going to fail, it is just a matter of how and when.  So, really, every time you have ever rode a carnival ride, or even a rolller coaster, you were rolling the dice to some extent. 

There have been times, however, when I have been in line for rides with my son at carnivals where I can visually see that the ride should probably not have still been in the rotation but I went ahead and rode it anyway, against my better judgment.  It's kind of the "it won't to us" kind of thought but after watching that video I may not be riding any more high speed/height stuff at movable carnivals.


Lou MacAdoo

July 28th, 2017 at 10:08 AM ^

There's a small amusement park near our cabin in northern Michigan. Last weekend we took our two-year-old son and nephew there to ride some rides. Nothing serious but I still was paranoid thinking to myself can we really trust these things. I never had that thought when we took him to cedar point the week before. You just don't know who's working on the machines and how much they're paying them at a small operation like that. That being said everything went great and the kids had a blast.

Goggles Paisano

July 28th, 2017 at 10:13 AM ^

I remember going on carnival rides as a kid - perhaps just a naive kid or perhaps things were just safer back then?  This story is why I have never let my kids go on carnival or state fair rides.  Very sad.  


July 28th, 2017 at 10:24 AM ^

You have to believe they are safer now with more stringent inspections, but these things are taken down, moved, and put back together on a weekly basis.  Sooner or later someone will forget to tighten a bolt or misalign something.  How much can they possibly inspect?  How can the inspectors account for weight and repeated use?  It's probably a matter of luck that more incidents haven't occurred in the past.


July 28th, 2017 at 11:03 AM ^

An inspection never guarantees proper operation or safety. Like you said, they can only look at so many things. I wonder if there's some sort of manufacturer's specs on replacement of some parts after so many uses. I'd imagine your run-of-the-mill onsite inspection really can't account for wear and fatigue on some of the structural parts. Nuts and bolts and gears are one thing but being able to determine if a main steel beam or arm or something is weakened is probably impossible to discern by an eye test.

Wolverine In Iowa

July 28th, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

My rule of thumb is if you're not strapped in like a cosmonaut in a Soyuz vehicle, the ride's not safe.

*traumatized as a youth at Great America in Gurnee, and then at King's Dominion

CRISPed in the DIAG

July 28th, 2017 at 10:38 AM ^

With the best and safest rides (Cedar Point) there's a moment of doubt - say, near the apex of the roller coaster ride just before the plunge - where you wonder if "this was a good idea."  I guess that's what makes it exciting.

A community where I worked years ago hosted a county fair that suffered a fatality from a ride. I know it's an extremely small sample and they're probably safer than driving a car, but no thanks. 


July 28th, 2017 at 10:54 AM ^

Even Cedar Point isn't safe... The Twisted Coaster is not safe by design. When the floor drops down before the ride starts, my feet can still touch the ground. I'm 6'5", so tall, but not freakishly tall. But if I didn't hold my legs up during the ride, I could've had my feet chopped off. I guess that adds to the thrill...


July 28th, 2017 at 8:03 PM ^

We have season passes to Kings Island, and my daughter has been waiting to be 52" so she can ride their verson of the ride that broke down called Delerium. We has gone twice over the last two weeks and each time the ride has been shut down. Not sure if we are gping to ride it now.


July 28th, 2017 at 10:41 AM ^

As a kid in the late 60's early 70's when the carnival showed up they would hire us to help set up stuff. Our traing and skills were not that great to say the least but we thought it was awesome making some cash. I never rode them much after that.


July 28th, 2017 at 10:53 AM ^

 The scariest thing here to me is how frequent little "carnival" pop up in strip mall parking lots. I've always assumed the bigger place like amusement parks and large state fairs were fairly safe until now. The danger is part of the fun but, you never really think your life is truly in danger. I wonder if they'll start testing these rides more like how they test airplanes


July 28th, 2017 at 11:59 AM ^

Does anyone know the company that designed / built the ride?  I'm wondering what other ventures they have.  Not at all minimizing the human tragedy, but clearly there is an engineering failure in design, probability of modeling failure / potential human error, something...


July 28th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

Carnie equipment gets many hours of use each year and the owners do just enough to pass inspections. Good preventative maintenance is expensive and many of their crews are not exactly here legally.

Failures are usually in the realm of material fatigue, blown seals or broken linkages. Very hard to predict or see unless you change things out after so many hours of use which I don't believe most of these carnivals do.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:59 PM ^

Amusements of America. I checked to see if they had just done the Cherry fest in TC. They did not but the same ride was there. I just took my little dudes on some rides up there and the thoughts always cross my minds about catastrophic failure. I didn't sleep well after seeing the video of that. I agree with another post about minimal maintenance and possibility of metal fatigue. There are pretty heavy forces and a lot of use for a machine that is torn down and reassembled. Even the best amusement parks have had fatalities after cables have snapped.


July 28th, 2017 at 1:37 PM ^

I live 15 minutes from the fair here. My workers daughter was supposed to get on the same ride but was feeling dizzy and decided not to get on. When she was walking out she saw it happened. It was some final destination shit for sure but super fortunate. The kid that was killed was just sworn to the Marines and was 18 years old. Tragic event here and it was on the first day. The fair is a big deal here.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:12 PM ^

Its a real tragedy what happened in Ohio.  My kids and I were riding on the same ride from the same manufacturer called "Beach Blaster" at San Diego's Belmont Park on Wednesday when the accident happened.  When I checked my news feed later it was a hug your kids and count your blessings kind of moment.


July 28th, 2017 at 3:17 PM ^

The kid who died was 18. He was going to start senior year of high school and enrolled in the marines last week. He was part of his high school's ROTC program. He worked with the police and I believe they called him a Junior Police Officer on the news. 


July 28th, 2017 at 4:31 PM ^

But we do have a large-scale problem in this country, namely, counterfeit or improperly-treated fasteners and metal components. Chinese industry has flooded our markets with bolts, for example, which are backroom manufactured without heat/quench cycles and uninspected yet receive fake certifications and then are released into the markets. Weak fasteners like these have been found in aircraft and buildings inter alia. Americans have been killed when the cheap parts fail, and it's been estimated there are millions if not billions of apparently fine but inherently weak metal pieces installed just about everywhere.