The accident involved a swinging and spinning ride known as the Fire Ball. As the Fire Ball swung, like a pendulum, a malfunction occurred on the upswing. One of the ride’s cars detached and fell to the ground, killing one and injuring several others.
The Fire Ball was an 18-year-old ride, and age may have played a part in the accident. What is known is that excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over the years. This led to a catastrophic failure of the ride.
The victim who died was 18 years old and had just enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps the week before the accident. One victim who survived was hospitalized in a coma.
The family of the deceased is discussing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Failure to Inspect Rides Can Lead to Accidents
According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Fire Ball passed inspection on about three dozen items, including possible cracks, brakes, proper assembly and installation. The ride passed inspection three or four times before the ride opened.
Could someone be liable for this failure to notice a dangerous condition?
It is unlikely that the manufacturer of the ride will be liable, since the sale happened 18 years ago and Ohio has a ten-year cut-off for product liability.
Amusements of America, the company that operates the ride, may be liable if it can be shown that the company knew or reasonably should have known about the corrosion.