COLUMBUS, Ohio – A swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball malfunctioned and broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State fair on Wednesday, hurling people through the air, killing at least one and injuring seven others.
Five of the injured were in critical condition and the other two were in stable condition at area hospitals, Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin said. The man who was killed was one of several who were thrown when the ride malfunctioned, Martin said.
Dramatic video captured by a bystander shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum and spinning in the air when it crashes into something and part of the ride flies off, throwing riders to the ground.
A company providing rides at the fair this year describes the Fire Ball as an “aggressive thrill” ride.
On its website, Amusements of America says that since its debut in 2002, the Fire Ball has become “one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway.” The company description of the ride says it swings riders 40 feet (12 meters) above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.
The company did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
In a statement, Republican Gov. John Kasich said he was “terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair.”
Kasich said he has ordered a full investigation and also ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.
The fair did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. In a post on its Twitter page it said: “There has been a report of a ride incident. We are investigating and will report information as available.”
The Ohio State Fair runs through Aug. 6.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has released this information:
We have received 3 patients at our hospital. Medical teams are assessing and treating their injuries.
We value the support of the community as we attend to those who need immediate assistance. We will provide further updates as information becomes available.
— 10TV.com (@10TV) July 27, 2017
The malfunction happened Wednesday evening. Officials have confirmed that the ride that malfunctioned is the Fireball.
This is breaking news. Fox 8 and Fox8.com will have updates as they become available.
There has been a report of a ride incident. We are investigating and will report information as available.
— Ohio State Fair (@OhioStateFair) July 26, 2017
Gov. Kasich's statement on tonight's incident at the Ohio State Fair. pic.twitter.com/PFjfHWMIab
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) July 27, 2017
We are continuing to monitor the tragic situation at the @OhioStateFair. Our prayers are with the victims and their families.
— Mary Taylor (@MaryTaylorOH) July 27, 2017
The Ohio State Fair runs through August 6.