1 dead, 7 injured, after incident on ride at Ohio State Fair

One person is dead and seven others injured -- three of whom are in critical condition -- after the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair broke apart in mid-air Wednesday night, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The deceased is an 18-year-old male, according to fire department officials.

The Grant Medical Center in Columbus has admitted three patients, hospital spokesperson Mark Hopkins told ABC News. Two of the three patients are in fair and stable condition, while the third is in critical and stable condition. Hopkins said the hospital is not expecting any additional patients.

And Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said it received three patients from the fair. At a press conference Wednesday night, the facility's Dr. David Evans said all three patients were in critical condition, one of whom was still in surgery at the time. Most of the injuries were orthopedic-related.

Evans said the patients ranged in age from late teens to 50s-60s.

 

PHOTO: This is a screen grab from a video taken of a ride at the Ohio State Fair on July 26, 2017, moments before it had an accident, leaving multiple people injured and one dead.Julian Bellinger
This is a screen grab from a video taken of a ride at the Ohio State Fair on July 26, 2017, moments before it had an accident, leaving multiple people injured and one dead.more +

 

 

PHOTO: The scene at the Ohio State Fair on July 26, 2017, after an accident involving a ride left one dead and multiple injured.@eckardbills/Twitter
The scene at the Ohio State Fair on July 26, 2017, after an accident involving a ride left one dead and multiple injured.

 

The Ohio State Fair confirmed the incident on its Twitter account late Wednesday and said it would investigate the issue and "report information as available."

In a later tweet, the fair confirmed that it would re-open on Thursday morning, but it said all rides would be shut down until they are inspected and deemed safe again.

"Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident. We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe," fair officials tweeted early Thursday. "Gates will open at 9 am and other activities will resume as scheduled.”

At a press conference Wednesday night, Col. Paul Pride of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said a trooper at the fair called in a report of a ride malfunction at 7:24 p.m.

 

 

Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin said people were trapped on the ride, ABC Columbus affiliate WSYX reported.

David Daniels, the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said at Wednesday night's press conference that he spoke with Gov. John Kasich after the incident. Kasich subsequently ordered the shutdown of all rides until there was a full review.

According to amusement ride operator Amusements of America, the Fire Ball "combines swinging and spinning action all in one ride! Since it's debut in 2002, the Fire Ball has become one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway. The Fire Ball swings riders 40' above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute"

Daniels said the Department of Agriculture inspects rides every day, adding that 11 rides at the fair did not open on Wednesday because they were not inspected. He added that four rides will not be operating because they did not meet the requirements of a mechanical test.

Kasich, also at the press conference, said the Fire Ball had been inspected multiple times by a third-party inspector.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture's chief inspector of amusement ride safety, Mike Vartorella, said inspectors have been present at the fair since last Wednesday. The inspection for the Fire Ball would include evaluating connections and hydraulics. Vartorella said the Fire Ball had been inspected three to four times over the previous two days.

Gov. Kasich said he will be at the fair tomorrow, when it is slated to re-open.

Kasich previously said in a statement that he was “terribly saddened” by the incident. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured," he said.

Wednesday marked the first day of the fair, which is scheduled to run through Aug. 6, according to the fair's website.

ABC News' Karma Allen and Matt Foster contributed to this report.


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