One dead, seven injured after Fire Ball ride malfunctions at Ohio State Fair

(NBC4)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Division of Fire says one person is dead and five critically injured after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair.

The deceased is an 18-year-old man. None of the victims have been identified.

Battalion Chief Steve Martin said two people are in stable condition. One of those injured is a 13-year-old child. The others are adults. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center confirmed on Twitter that they had received 3 patients.

Martin says one of the rows of seats on the Fire Ball ride “snapped off.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich said the Fair will be open Thursday; all rides will be closed until they are inspected again. Kasich said Fire Ball had been inspected several times, including by a third-party company. Ohio Department of Agriculture chief ride inspector Michael Vartorella said the inspection process is lengthy, as the ride has several pieces to it.

Kasich also said that 11 rides did not open at all on Wednesday. At least four were still closed after inspections.”The fair is about the best things in life, and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” he said.

Amusements of America is the company providing rides at the State Fair this year. More information about the Fire Ball can be found on their website. It is described as an “aggressive thrill ride.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich released a statement Wednesday evening:

“I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured.  I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.”

Rides are inspected each year in the week leading up to the fair. Rides are also subject to spot inspections through the time the fair is open.

Wednesday was the opening day for the Fair, which runs until Aug. 6.

The Ohio State Fair released the following statement on their Facebook page:

Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident. We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe. Gates will open at 9 am and other activities will resume as scheduled.”