A chaotic scene unfolded at the Ohio State Fair after a ride malfunctioned during opening day — killing one person and injuring several others.
A video posted online appears to show several people on the Fire Ball ride seconds before parts of the structure, including a full row of seats, split up and fell.
Tragedy struck around 7:20 pm (local time) Wednesday at the popular fair in Columbus. The Fire Ball, which consists of at least six rows of seats that spin around 40 feet above the ground as the entire structure moves like a pendulum, broke apart while it was in motion.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Paul A. Pride said one person was killed and seven others were injured, two of whom are in critical condition.
‘It’s my worst nightmare’
Rhonda Burgess said one of her sons was standing in line at a nearby ride when the incident took place.
“The ride had four riders per cart. This piece snapped off and the riders came out of the cart,” she said. “At least two (people) flew through the air at least 20 feet before landing on their backs on the concrete.”
Within seconds, Kaylie Bellomy found herself in the middle of a crowd. She had been waiting her turn to get on the Fire Ball when she watched the turmoil erupt.
“Everybody was running. I got ran over trying to get out of the way,” she told CNN affiliate WCMH. “I just don’t think I’ll ever ride a ride ever again.”
Deputies asked attendees standing near the ride to step back as someone screamed “it’s my worst nightmare,” video footage shows. Workers were also seen placing barriers as medics and staff tend to those injured.
Three patients were taken to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Eileen Scahill said.
As of Thursday, one was in serious condition and the two others were in critical condition, the hospital said in a statement.
David Evans, the center’s medical director, said it was helpful to see video of the incident that was posted to social media because it helped them look for certain types of injuries.
“Having that video really showed us that this was a great force and a great mechanism, really consistent with a high-speed motor vehicle crash with an ejection, really something more along those lines,” he said.
The other four people injured were taken to Ohio Health Grant Medical Center. CNN has reached out to that facility for an update on their conditions.