In a bit of tragic news, an accident on the Fireball (An Afterburner attraction) at the Ohio State Fair this Wednesday has left one man dead and at least 7 inured after one of the 6 gondolas was freed from main hub at full swing and launched into a support beam. You can find a video of the accident here, and bellow is a picture of an Afterburner ride, so you can better understanding of what we’re dealing with.
You don’t have to watch the video to understand how serious this is, I mean, someone died for God’s sake, but after watching the short clip a few times, I can tell you that this played out a bit differently than one may think. You see, on a KMG (The Dutch manufacture who designed and built the ride) Afterburner, each row of seats is attached to a small arm which, in turn, is attached to a bigger arm which connects to the central spinning “hub” of the attraction, which is attached to, you guessed it, a swinging arm. Now, you might think that the joint where the small arm holding the seats connects to the bigger arm is what had disconnected, since this is where the seats are attached/ removed during setup and breakdown, and would not only make it the most prone to wear and tear, but make scenario of “a bolt came lose” or something like that much more likely. But, as you can see in the video, the seats actually became detached from the SMALL arm, appearing to have sheared clean off.
Now, I’m sure that plenty of people are already pointing fingers at the safety inspector, the ride’s operator, KMG, the state fair, the state of Ohio, Republicans, Democrats, Trump, Hillary, and Aliens as to whose to blame to this for this incident. But the truth is, it’s way to early to start pointing fingers and, all in all, it really doesn’t matter. What’s important know is HOW this happened, what can be done to avoid it in the future. To me, this is a clear structural malfunction that can possibly affect other rides all around the world. Already, another Fireball ride at the California State Fair has been closed as a precaution and is currently undergoing inspections, and I see this as a very good decision. In fact, it might be a good idea to close ALL Fireball/Afterburner attractions, something that KMG definitely has the power to do, until the cause of accident is known. Is this a problem that might affect other rides, or simply one that only affected this machine?
All in all, this is really awful news, and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy. I just really hope that a cause of this incident comes out soon so this will hopefully not be a problem in the future.