COLUMBUS, Ohio – KMG, the Dutch company that manufactures amusement rides, including the Fireball, which malfunctioned and killed one person at the Ohio State Fair last month, has released what they say is the cause of the deadly accident.
In a letter posted on their Facebook page, KMG says that “It was determined that excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over the years. This finally led to the catastrophic failure of the ride during operation.”
The company goes on to say that their investigation into the 18-year-old ride included a visit to the scene and a review of video footage of the incident. A metallurgical inspection was also conducted.
The company states that they have reviewed the results of the inspection and have “worked with industry safety experts to develop an inspection protocol in the form of a Safety Bulletin” that will allow other properly inspected and maintained rides to reopen.
18-year-old Tyler Jarrell, a high school student who recently enlisted in the Marines was killed when the spinning and thrill ride broke apart and sent several passengers tumbling at the Ohio State Fair on July 26th.
Video taken by a bystander of the swinging, spinning Fire Ball ride in action captured a crashing sound. A section holding four riders came apart, and screams could be heard as at least two people were ejected and plunged toward the ground. Other riders were still in their seats as they fell.
Jarrell, of Columbus, was thrown about 50 feet and pronounced dead on the midway.
Four other people, ranging in age from 14 to 42, who were injured remain hospitalized, including a woman in a coma.
Tyler Jerrell’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Keziah Lewis, remains hospitalized in serious condition.
Relatives of 18-year-old Jennifer Lambert say she’s opened her eyes briefly but hasn’t woken up.
Forty-two-year-old Russell Franks is in critical condition.
His niece, 36-year-old Tamica Dunlap, is in serious condition.