Serious accident at Ohio State Fair?

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

Two parks in my area (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and California's Great America) shut down their swinging pendulum rides Wednesday night, apparently on orders from Cal-OSHA. SCBB has the unfortunately named Fireball, an Afterburner by KMG, and CGA has The Delirium, a Revolution 32 by Chance rides. They are my absolute favorite rides. I was at the Boardwalk when they shut it down, and it was at 8:30 PM Wednesday. Anyone know what exact time the incident occurred? I'm curious how much time it took for word to spread to Cali.

In other news, although it sounds like most of you are not trying to watch any more horrifying videos, now additional camera angles and amateur post-incident videos have popped up online, and they are so freaking gruesome. Close-ups of broken legs, of the body, etc. So for any of you who force yourselves to watch gruesome videos (like myself) but won't admit it, those are out there. Sadly.

I'm curious if I will ever ride these rides again.

Last edited by GooDFeLLoW,

Well, that throws a giant wrench in the hitting the floor theory, and completely supports the metal fatigue one.

Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

Bill Lumbergh said:
As rare as these insidents are, they moving carnivals/fairs have a higher probability of failure.
I'm definitely never going to ride any type of ride like that again. I'm sure other people had the same reaction...

My grandmother once saw a Ferris wheel fall apart with people on it. I don't know if this was in her home country of Denmark, or when she came to the states, and I'm not sure if she saw it in person or on the news. From what I gathered, she saw it in person in Denmark, but it upset her so much I never asked her more about it. In any case, I don't do well with heights to begin with, so the combo of hearing that story and my discomfort with swaying in the breeze with no restraint in a bucket 200 feet off the ground has put the terror of Ferris wheels in me. I get where you're coming from.

However, if each accident we see or hear about puts us off riding and other fun activities, are we really living? From everything found so far, this wasn't negligence or operator error. It is likely a freak accident. I likely won't ride one of these for a while, but I'll ride again someday. I'm more frightened of riding an Intamin launcher on any given day than I am that this ride will snap off an arm again anytime soon.

I LOVE your name, by the way.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

TheAcrophobicEnthusiast's avatar

It was definitely metal fatigue given the picture I saw with the support arm sheared off. In regards to the thickness off the metal, it looked like 3/8"-1/2" box tubing which is, under normal conditions, incredibly strong. If this sheared off there had to have been a manufacturing defect that made it past NDT at the mill or some kind of incident that initially weakened it.

My first question is has the ride ever sustained a shock load like being dropped or a transport collision? That would be my first suspicion.

The best of all the jokers is clearly Mark Hamill.

Not the first time that this has happened at the Ohio State Fair

Jeff's avatar

In my limited understanding of physics and chemistry around steel, it would be extraordinarily unlikely that this was a spontaneous failure not preceded by a visible crack, and the guy quoted in the Dispatch article seems to believe that too. I have to wonder how something like that goes unnoticed, or gets bad enough over a year between NDT's to fail completely.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Do we have a timeline of where the ride was this summer? What other fairs did it operate?

It goes unnoticed if it was painted over.

I suspect we are going to learn something really bad out of this investigation

The ride is actually owned by Amusements of America, out of New Jersey. A quick check of their route schedule only shows current and future dates, previous dates are no longer listed. This being a spectacular piece, it probably only played the larger dates, as A of A often splits into smaller units until fair season starts

Pete's avatar

bunky666 said: From everything found so far, this wasn't negligence or operator error. It is likely a freak accident. /quote]
Well that really depends. Given the top notch inspection in Ohio, I suspected this was a metal fatigue/crack/bad weld issue, not an assembly issue.. Does the manufacturer require NDT for this ride? If so, this should have been found. Definite negligence if that is the case. If NDT is not required by the manufacturer, and the amusement company chooses not to do it, than it really points to a difference in safety between fairs and permanent parks. The expert in the Dispatch article clearly said that it was an old defect, a park that has a comprehensive NDT program like Cedar Point for example, would have found the defect and the accident would have never happened. So this points to either negligence or a marked difference in safety between fairs and permanent parks.

Last edited by Pete,

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Pete's avatar

In my previous post I've tried to remove the extra quote tag at the end a few times, but it is still there after saving. Bug in the forum software?

Last edited by Pete,

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Not sure if you can fix it, but your original quote is not closed correctly. You are missing a bracket. Once you add it you will likely need to delete the one at the end again.

This is what I see: "From everything found so far, this wasn't negligence or operator error. It is likely a freak accident. /quote]"

Last edited by ldiesman,
Pete's avatar

Yeah, I deleted that and when I saved it didn't save my edit.

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

TheAcrophobicEnthusiast's avatar

Internal cracks are a thing as well.

The best of all the jokers is clearly Mark Hamill.

And that's what the NDT is supposed to detect. The thing is, you don't take the paint off the entire ride and NDT it every season. That's just not practical. Instead, you identify the areas where cracks are likely to form, and you examine those areas in great detail. The only place on the Fireball where I am aware that such NDT is required is on the main swinging arm where the arm attaches to the main center bearing. Apart from that, there aren't any requirements on the ride, and in the past 20 years nothing has broken.

The other problem is that this location isn't necessarily one that an analysis would identify as a likely place for a crack. I was talking about it with a total stranger on the midway yesterday, and he compared it to carrying a 50# bag of watermelons in your hand and throwing them around. I agreed, but pointed out that if you're doing that and your arm fails, it's typically going to fail at the wrist or the elbow, not in the middle of your forearm. But that's what appears to have happened here: the gondola support tube failed between the welds where most of the attention would be focused.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Thank you.
One question that stays in my mind is the idea that the ride might've finally struck the improperly positioned floor. And if that is the case it would explain how this tear in the unlikely spot occurred. Maybe a perfect combination of a slightly weakened piece of steel that finally gave out due to the force of the impact.
The ride remains in its place but is surrounded by semi trucks blocking access or a good view. State patrolmen are posted there as well.

I'm at the fair every day and it seems like customers are eager for the midway to re-open. Kiddie rides, the slide, and the Sky Glider opened Friday and they were busy. Yesterday, a beautiful Saturday, was slammin'. The main midway is set to open today, they've been inspecting and testing in the meantime to get ready.
I've talked to fair goers who seem to realize that freak accidents occur. One lady told me that they've been riding rides at the fair for 35 years and she will continue to take her family and put everyone on the rides if they want.

Edit: I just read Dave's analysis at CoasterBuzz, worth looking at, and the floor question is addressed. It's clear to him that the floor had nothing to do with it. Thanks.

Last edited by RCMAC,

Really bad that accodent happened.

I was browsing several Dutch websites over the last days to maybe found out what was the reason this happend.

first conclusion

I am shocked that this could happen this way, I really liked that kind of pendularides.. this model but also the smaller one and the really big one.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Dutch manufacturer of a thrill ride that broke apart and killed an 18-year-old man at the Ohio State Fair says excessive corrosion on a support beam led to a “catastrophic failure.”

TheAcrophobicEnthusiast's avatar

If there was corrosion (rust most likely) then obviously the owner has painted over it. The picture of the break clearly shows paint right up to the break. Probably going to be a settlement involved here.

Last edited by TheAcrophobicEnthusiast,

The best of all the jokers is clearly Mark Hamill.

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