COLUMBUS – One man died and seven people were injured Wednesday in a ride accident at the Ohio State Fair. After an order from the governor, rides went dark and will not reopen until they receive further inspections Thursday.
“The fair is about the best things in life, and today with this accident, it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich told reporters Wednesday.
The malfunction on the Fire Ball ride was reported by a state trooper at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday. The man who died in the accident was found about 50 feet from the attraction, said Steve Martin, battalion chief with the Columbus Fire Department. Of those injured, five were taken to area hospitals, and three remained in critical condition late Wednesday.
On the State Fair midway late Wednesday, orange seats from the Fire Ball ride rested on the ground, surrounded by other debris. The rest of the ride appeared to be intact. A single tennis shoe rested on the ground at the base of the ride.
The Fire Ball ride had received multiple inspections before Wednesday’s opening day incident, including inspections by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and a “third party,” Kasich said.
“We do not rush inspections,” said David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Eleven rides did not run Wednesday because they failed inspection. But inspectors had not flagged the Fire Ball for closure.
The annual fair began Wednesday and runs through Aug. 6.
Look for updates tonight.
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