The “catastrophic failure” of an amusement ride at the Ohio State Fair last month was caused by “excessive corrosion” of the ride’s metal components, according to a statement by the ride’s Dutch manufacturer.
KMG International, the family-owned amusement ride manufacturer based in Neede, Netherlands, said the particular “KMG Fireball” ride, also known as the “Afterburner,” was 18 years old.
The company said it sent representatives to the accident site in Columbus, Ohio to inspect the ride and review footage of the accident, which killed 18-year-old Columbus native Tyler Jarrell and injured seven others.
The amusement ride’s failure occurred when a full row of seats detached from the “supporting sweeping arm” of the ride. Mr. Jarrell was thrown 50 feet into the air and died at the scene. Seven other people ranging in age from 14 to 42 were seriously injured. Two of the passengers remain in critical condition, including one in a coma, and a third is in serious condition after undergoing multiple surgeries.
“It was determined that excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over the years. This finally led to the catastrophic failure of the ride during operation,” KMG said in an August 4 announcement.
The company said it had reviewed the results of the inspection and was working with industry safety experts to “develop an inspection protocol” that would allow properly maintained and inspected rides to reopen.
The Fireball ride’s malfunction July 26 led to the suspension of other Fireball rides and similar rides made by other companies both in the U.S. and overseas.