State fair officials reassure about safety

Associated Press


State officials and amusement industry executives worked to reassure visitors Monday that the 2018 Ohio State Fair will be safe a year after a catastrophic ride failure left an 18-year-old dead and seven others injured.

The effort came ahead of Wednesday’s opening day, when thousands of adults and children will begin returning to the fairgrounds where Tyler Jarrell was killed when the Fire Ball ride broke apart.

“We continue to have the utmost confidence in the skills and capabilities of our inspectors to carry out the statutory duties that they’re required to,” said Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels. He said the 2017 accident was a tragic mechanical error but that Ohio’s inspection program remains one of the best in the nation.

Robert Johnson, president of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, which represents the amusement ride industry, said the accident has prompted a strong industry response across the nation and world.

The state never concluded why the Fire Ball’s support beams became so corroded on the inside resulting in its ultimate failure. The ride’s manufacturer, Netherlands-based KMG, issued its findings nine days after the malfunction: “Excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over the years. This finally led to a catastrophic failure of the ride during operation.”

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