Fair ride in Tennessee sends 8 to hospital, early reports totally wrong

Posted | Contributed by Thabto

Those in charge of the Delta Fair are being criticized for how they handled an accident that sent several people to the hospital Saturday night. Seven riders and the ride operator went to the hospital. Sunday morning, a statement was posted by the Delta Fair on Facebook saying there had been injuries.

Read more from WREG/Memphis.

This Moonraker has played the Ohio State Fair the last (I think) three summers. I don't know who owns it, but I believe it's booked on by the main show provider, Amusements of America. Picture a ride vehicle like a Frisbee that raises up and spins like a dime on its side, like a Trabant or Wipeout. It's made by SDC and also goes by Galactica.

I've seen this ride on the trailer(s) and watched some of it's build up. It always seemed so old, and by that I mean less modern. The horse collar restraints didn't have a belt to further secure them to the seat and they didn't ratchet. In other words, they had two positions, open all the way or locked. It was not accommodating to larger riders and I saw many, many people (myself included) do the walk of shame. There were several seats, usually, roped off to riders as well.
The flash, lights and backdrop, did their best to make this ride more appealing, but I always thought the bones seemed a little sketchy.

None of this has to do with a ride op who popped the restraints open mid-ride, except to say that if the restraints and seats had some kind of different design, or even a belt attached from the collar to the seat, this would've turned out differently.

Disclaimer - I have never seen this type of ride in person.

With that being said, the main problem I have at this point is:

Why was there no interlock on this ride preventing the harness release from operating while the ride was in motion?

This reminds me of the incident that Nighthawk at Carowinds had in 2007. Very different circumstances, but also an interlock issue.

LostKause's avatar

The safety official said it's concerning that the operator has a feature where he or she can lift the bars up halfway through the ride. He also said it was unusual.

"We're not used to seeing that feature, and I don't know if because he was in emergency mode he was able to do that," he said. "I have never seen a ride that you could disable the safety feature while it was in motion."

My mind can't wrap around the idea that the ride attendant was able to release the restraints while the ride was in an unsafe position. How is an option to do that available? The ride attendant is at fault, no doubt. But, whoever disabled any safety features, or whoever did not make sure that there were safety features on the ride that would have prevented this, are equally at fault.

The ride operator should not have been able to release the restraints.

And I agree, if there were a secondary redundant restraint, this would not have happened anyway.

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