But the experience isn’t always as safe as patrons have come to expect. Recently in Ohio, a U.S. Marine recruit, just 18-years-old, was killed and seven others injured when the Fire Ball ride broke apart in mid-operation, just hours after it had passed its inspection. Video captured by a person nearby shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum before it crashed and part of the ride went flying, dumping several passengers. Soon after the incident was reported other state and local fairs with similar rides shut them down, hoping to figure out what went wrong before re-opening them. The Dutch manufacturer of the ride, which reports there are 43 similar rides across the world, including 11 in the U.S., is conducting its own examination into what went wrong.
In the meantime, it’s caused many fair officials and regulators to take stock of the safety procedures currently in place, and whether patrons may face an unreasonable risk of personal injury or wrongful death just for seeking a few momentary thrills. Continue reading →