Bad wiring blamed for shocking girl at Lorain County Fair

Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 10:53 AM | Contributed by HeyIsntThatRob?

A bad wire connection on a ride likely caused the electrical shock a 12-year-old girl received at the Lorain County Fair this week, authorities said Saturday. State inspectors who spent two days disassembling the ride discovered that the wiring in a center post had its plastic covering melted away. It likely came in contact with the post and sent an electrical current through the Whirl Wind ride just as the girl grabbed a metal handrail.

Read more from The Chronicle-Telegram.

Monday, August 28, 2006 11:38 AM
Well, at least this one wasn't due to a previous health condition.
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Monday, August 28, 2006 12:11 PM
This could happen anywhere...anytime...on virtually any ride. Although I would suspect something was drawing more current than it should have or the wiring was substandard.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 12:57 AM
Earlier this year you could touch the hand rail at the top of IB's Galaxy and get a pretty good shock. I thought Iggy was messing with me saying just touch the railing. Of course I didn't but when we got to the other side he was by the rail and touched me and the railing at the same time and it was a good zap. I haven't figured out how it happend though. We were in a car that should have been insulated from the metal rail by plastic wheels and the hand rail in the station is also part of the ride and we didn't get anything there. Wierd.
*** This post was edited by sparky697 8/29/2006 12:57:34 AM ***
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006 10:58 AM
sparky: What you were experiencing is probably BECAUSE you were in a car insulated from the ride...that was probably a static charge. That's why Intamin puts grounding straps on their coaster trains, little brushes connected to the car frame that rub against the rail.

It turns out that on the Bates Round-Up, a bit of illumination wiring at the center of the ride was damaged, and allowed the frame to become electrified. People on the ride would not have felt it because the entire frame would have become 'hot', so there would be no difference in potential for people on the ride. It's also worth noting that the fact that the girl received a relatively mild (albeit serious) shock suggests that the grounding system on the ride was functioning properly.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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