One person is dead and another seven are injured after a swinging, spinning fairground ride broke apart at a state fair in the United States.
The Fire Ball ride broke apart on the first day of the Ohio State Fair, hurling riders through the air, killing an 18-year-old man and injuring seven others.
Three of the injured remain in critical condition in hospital, as of Wednesday evening [local time], with one of the injured a 13-year-old child, according to local station WCHM.
Dramatic video captured by a bystander shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum and spinning in the air when it crashes into what appears to be a barrier.
One of the ride’s seating capsules flies off, throwing some of the riders to the ground, while two others are seen being flung high into the air.
A spokesman for the Columbus Fire Division, Steve Martin, told The Columbus Dispatch newspaper the incident happened at 7.20pm [local time].
One man was thrown high into the air, landed on the ground about 15 metres from the ride and was killed on impact, according to Mr Martin.
The Fire Ball, pitched as an “aggressive thrill” ride, can carry up to 24 passengers in four-seat sections. It swings riders to a height of about 12 metres into the air, doing 13 revolutions per minute.
Chief inspector for Ohio’s Department of Agriculture [the body responsible for amusement park safety] Michael Vartorella told the newspaper that the Fire Ball had been inspected three or four times before the fair started.
He also maintained that workers did not rush through inspections, though they worked long nights because of heavy rain and some flooding during the week leading up to the fair.
“We take this job very serious, and when we have an accident like this … it hits us really hard,” he told The Dispatch.
Mr Vartorella added that four of the fair’s rides had not been granted the required permission to open, because they failed mechanical tests.
Republican Governor John Kasich said he had ordered a full investigation, while also ordering all fair rides to be shut down pending urgent safety checks.
“The fair is about the best things in life, and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” he said.
– with AP