Wednesday, July 26, marked the start of the Ohio State Fair where, each year, hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate, eat, visit exhibits and go on rides. Sadly, this year’s opening day was the scene of a tragic accident that claimed the life of one individual and resulted in the serious injuries of several others.
On Wednesday evening around 7:20 p.m., a popular ride called the Fire Ball malfunctioned. Eye witnesses describe hearing a loud sound and then terrified screams as a section of the ride appeared to break apart, flinging riders several feet into the air.
Police report that an 18-year-old man was killed in the accident when he was ejected and thrown 50 feet before falling to the concrete below. At least seven other individuals also suffered injuries in the horrific accident and were taken to nearby hospitals. At least three of the wounded are being treated at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where a representative reports that one individual is in serious condition and the two others, in critical condition.
The accident and the chaotic scenes that followed were captured and shared on social media and news sites where thousands of viewers have left messages conveying their feelings of shock, sadness and outrage.
The tragic accident prompted Ohio Governor John Kasich to call for the immediate shut down of the fair’s 71 rides until they can be thoroughly inspected and declared safe. The company, Amusements of America, which owns and operates the Fire Ball has not responded to requests for comment.
Michael Vartorella, who is a ride inspector at the fair, said in a statement that his team inspected the Fire Ball “three or four times before the fair began.”
However, on Tuesday, ahead of the fair’s opening day, the Columbus Dispatch reported how rain and flooding had delayed safety inspections and resulted in the majority of inspections being rushed and carried out on Monday and Tuesday.
In recent years, there have been numerous accidents reported at amusement parks, fairs and carnivals throughout the United States where those impacted have suffered serious and fatal injuries.
Many of these accidents are linked to the use of old and defective parts and a failure to inspect and properly maintain equipment. These accidents should never happen and the individuals who suffer harm, injury and loss deserve answers.
My name is Daniel Abraham. As a partner at Colley Shroyer & Abraham Co., LPA, I have many years of experience with product liability cases, and because of this I am in a position to hit the ground running by securing evidence, interviewing witnesses, and determining the source of this defect. Product liability cases tend to involve complex issues that require a knowledge of engineering, science, manufacturing processes, and other technical expertise. These days, product liability cases tend to involve foreign manufacturers and suppliers, which adds a level of legal complexity that sometimes is not anticipated.
I, along with my staff, have the extensive experience in prosecuting such cases, and know what must be done to give the injured person the best chance of recovering compensation for injuries. Further, my firm is a well-established personal injury firm with access to all of the resources needed to successfully persue recovery, including expert witnesses who can help determine the cause of the product failure.