Ride safety concerns after deadly malfunction at Ohio State Fair

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 17:41:35-04

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. -- As the investigation into a deadly malfunction at the Ohio State Fair continues, there's a spotlight on fair safety here in West Michigan.

One person was killed and seven others were injured when the Fire Ball ride broke apart Wednesday at the fair in Ohio.

The co-owner of the ride company that supplies the Ottawa County Fair says an incident like that would be their "worst nightmare."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was involved in the accident," said Debbie Elliot, co-owner of Elliott's Amusements.

Debbie and her husband own Elliott's Amusements.  She says they perform vigorous daily inspections to make sure their rides are safe.

"Every day we have inspectors from the show that are trained that inspect the ride," she said. "They start an hour before we open and all the rides are gone through every single day."

In addition to those daily inspections, The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs inspects all rides statewide annually.

LARA Licensing Director Mike Beamish says his department has five full-time carnival ride inspectors who complete their annual assessments between late March and Labor Day. In Michigan he estimated there are about 950 carnival rides inspected, generating about 600,000 passenger rides each year.

In 2016, 11 people were hurt at carnivals statewide and so far this year Beamish says one person has been hurt and one ride malfunctioned; no injuries in West Michigan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report