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Amusements of America: No evidence of operator error in Ohio State Fair accident

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Amusements of America said a ride malfunction that caused the death of a teenager and injured several others last Wednesday was an issue with the specific ride.

Amusements of America is the company that owns, operates and provides the rides at the Ohio State Fair, including the Fire Ball ride that malfunctioned. The company has said its staff inspected the ride before it opened. AOA issued a statement Sunday afternoon, as most rides re-opened at the fair:

The decision to shut down similar rides around the world and reopen the Ohio midway indicates that this is an issue with a specific ride and not the ride operator or inspectors. There is no evidence that operator error played a role in the accident. We continue to keep those affected by this tragic accident in our prayers and work cooperatively with the ongoing investigation.

The ride’s manufacturer, KMG, has instructed operators of Fire Ball and similar rides not to operate it until further notice.

KMG said the one at the Ohio fair was built in 1998. Forty-three of the rides, also known as the Afterburner, are in use around the world, 11 of them in the U.S., according to KMG. None has had a serious malfunction before, the company told the AP.

Tyler Jarrell, 18, of Columbus, was thrown about 50 feet from the ride Wednesday and pronounced dead on the midway. The Marine Corps and school officials said Jarrell enlisted last Friday and was going to begin basic training next summer after his high school graduation.

The injured ranged in age from 14 to 42. At least two were listed in critical condition. Some people were hit by debris.

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