Panel suggests ride safety review after fatal fair accident
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state advisory board has agreed to form a new committee to review the amusement ride inspection process in an effort to improve the public’s perceptions about ride safety after a deadly accident last summer at the Ohio State Fair.
Ride operators described the accident as a “black eye” for the industry during a Thursday meeting of the Ohio Advisory Board on Amusement Ride Safety.
The Fire Ball ride broke apart at the State Fair in July, flinging a four-passenger carriage into the air, killing 18-year-old high school student Tyler Jarrell and injuring seven people.
Dutch manufacturer KMG said the cause was excessive corrosion of a support beam. Lawsuits filed by accident victims are pending.
The new committee will be comprised of ride industry officials and others approved by the state agriculture department. An agriculture department spokesman said the agency’s director will review the committee’s recommendations.
In a report released in December, the state Department of Agriculture said it would not fine the operators of the Fire Ball. Chief inspector Michael Vartorella said in the report that Amusements of America “was in compliance with the requirements of Ohio law.”
Agriculture department Deputy Director John Schlichter declined to discuss the report or details about the Fire Ball accident during Thursday’s meeting.
Bill Prowant, vice chair of the advisory board, suggested at the meeting that a new committee review the negative perception surrounding amusement rides.
“The season is approaching very fast,” Prowant said. “Right now … we’ve got issues.”