What Caused the Deadly Fire Ball Ride Accident?

Photo of a personal injury claim formOn July 26, the Fire Ball, a swinging, spinning ride at the Ohio State Fair malfunctioned. One of the spinning cars detached after hitting a piece of the ride. One teen died and several people were injured in the incident. Until recently, the cause of the accident was unconfirmed, but officials now know why the accident happened.

After an investigation of the incident, which included a visit to the scene, a review of video evidence and a metallurgical inspection of the ride, it was determined that corrosion on the interior of the support beam was the cause. The corrosion reduced the beam’s thickness, leading to the deadly accident.

The incident led to the shutdown of several similar rides across the country, including one at the Monmouth County Fair.

Amusement Ride Accidents

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks’ Ride Incident Survey Report, hundreds of millions of people go on amusement park rides every year. A spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated that since 2010, 22 people have died due to defective amusement attractions. That number excludes water park and work-related fatalities. Data suggests that about 45,000 people suffer injury at amusement parks and water parks every year.

These incidents disproportionately affect children. Children aged 0-19 account for over half of all amusement park injuries.

The leading causes of amusement ride injuries are:

  • Mechanical issues, such as exposed electrical wires, malfunctioning lap bars and failure to shut off
  • Operator behaviors, like failing to maintain the ride, stopping the ride abruptly or improper assembly
  • Consumer behaviors, like rocking the cars or not sitting properly
  • Injuries that occur while the ride is functioning normally, like loss of consciousness
  • Combination of hazards

If you suffer injuries at a theme park, amusement park or state fair, discuss the incident with a personal injury attorney.

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