1 dead, several others hurt in ride malfunction at fair

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jul 26, 2017

At least one person was killed and several others injured when a ride malfunctioned on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, fire officials said.

Some of the victims were thrown from the ride when it malfunctioned around 7:24 Wednesday night, said Columbus Battalion Chief Steve Martin.

An 18-year-old man was killed.

Witnesses say that a row of the ride snapped off, causing several riders to plunge to the ground. A video that has gone viral on several social networking platforms confirms that a gondola snapped from the ride.

Wednesday marked the first day of the 11-day long fair. The ride was said to have been inspected multiple times, including by a third-party inspector. Michael Vartorella, chief ride inspector of the Amusement Ride Safety Division, told reporters Wednesday night that the ride had no red flags during inspections.

In a statement, Republican Gov. John Kasich said he is "terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio's fair."

Kasich said he has ordered a full investigation and also ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.

The fair did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. In a post on its Twitter page it said: "There has been a report of a ride incident. We are investigating and will report information as available."

Kasich said the fair will reopen Thursday, but the rides would remain closed pending inspection.

The Ohio State Fair runs through August 6.

Last year, the Ohio State fair welcomed 921,000 guests, which was just shy of the fair's all-time record.