NEW LONDON, Conn. – Six people were injured on an amusement park ride at Ocean Beach Park in New London, Connecticut, on Tuesday.
The six were treated for minor injuries after experiencing what appears to have been an electric shock on the Scrambler ride, according to New London Police Deputy Chief Peter Reichard. Rides at Ocean Beach Park are closed temporarily.
In a news release, New London Police said people were “struck by electricity in the area of the amusement rides.” Officers arrived at Ocean Beach Park shortly after the call came in about 2 p.m. Tuesday, and “police and fire personnel located multiple persons of assorted ages who claimed to have suffered various degrees of electrical shock.”
The ride operator told police that he experienced a small shock when operating the ride, Reichard said.
The Scrambler ride seats three individuals in each seat and jolts the cars around, whirling them from a center pivoting mechanism.
Tyler Weerden, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, said some of the people injured were juveniles. The injuries were minor, with the most serious being a contact burn to a hand, Weerden said. The injured people were transferred to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for treatment, New London police said.
Some locals who frequent Ocean Beach Park said the rides look old, so they weren’t surprised by the incident. They also don’t plan on hitting the amusements again any time soon.
“I was not surprised at all. It just doesn’t seem like a safe kind of thing. I don’t know their safety record or anything,” Laurie Oliveri, who was at the park at the time, told CNN affiliate WFSB.
Andrea Kambolli, who says he takes his 10-year-old daughter to the park all the time, told WFSB, “It’s kind of scary to hear those things” about a place where he goes with his child. “I’m never going to go there until they fix or do something about those rides.”
Detectives have identified electrical issues that are being repaired by a licensed electrician prior to re-inspection by the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit, Weerden said. A full re-inspection will be conducted before the park reopens, he added.
Recent accidents prompt investigations
There have been several high-profile amusement park accidents throughout the summer.
Caleb Thomas Schwab, 10, died on a water slide at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, on August 7. The accident remains under investigation, with few details released. The Kansas water slide passed inspection two months ago, according to state records. Park guests said the slide’s harness wasn’t working properly the day Caleb, the son of a state legislator, died.
Three children fell from a Ferris wheel at a Tennessee county fair on August 8, critically injuring two of them. Briley Reynolds, 6, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the fall and was in serious condition as of August 14. Authorities in Greene County, Tennessee, said a mechanical flaw caused the Ferris wheel gondola to tip and spill the girls out at the county fair. A 3-year-old boy fell out of a wooden roller coaster at Idlewild and SoakZone in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on August 11. He was airlifted to a hospital after the incident.
There are an average 4,423 injuries in amusement parks each year and 20 injuries daily from May through September, the parks’ busiest time, according to data from a study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics for 2015 are not available, but a review of the raw data found about 45,000 injuries associated with amusement attractions and water slides nationwide; about 30,000 of these cases involved those under the age of 18.
Even mall rides could be dangerous, researchers said.
“Many of the injuries on these rides are over hard floors, and children are falling on a hard floor and are ending up with head injuries,” said Tracy Mehan, lead researcher of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital study.
Injuries ranged from head and neck problems to injuries to the face, arms and legs. Injuries considered serious made up a small percentage. Soft-tissue injuries — damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons — were the most common.