One dead, seven injured after reported ride malfunction at Ohio State Fair

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Division of Fire says one person is dead and five critically injured after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair.

On Thursday morning, the local highway patrol released the names of the victims, saying 18-year-old Tyler Jarrett, of Columbus, was pronounced dead at the fairgrounds.

The following individuals were hospitalized:

  • Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio
  • Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus, Ohio
  • Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
  • Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, Ohio
  • Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus, Ohio
  • Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
  • A 14 year-old male whose name is being withheld at the request of the family

Battalion Chief Steve Martin said two people are in stable condition. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center confirmed on Twitter that they had received 3 patients.

Martin says one of the rows of seats on the Fire Ball ride “snapped off.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich said the Fair will be open Thursday; all rides will be closed until they are inspected again. Kasich said Fire Ball had been inspected several times, including by a third-party company. Ohio Department of Agriculture chief ride inspector Michael Vartorella said the inspection process is lengthy, as the ride has several pieces to it.

Kasich also said that 11 rides did not open at all on Wednesday. At least four were still closed after inspections.”The fair is about the best things in life, and tonight with this accident it becomes a terrible, terrible tragedy,” he said.

Amusements of America is the company providing rides at the State Fair this year. More information about the Fire Ball can be found on their website. It is described as an “aggressive thrill ride.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich released a statement Wednesday evening:

“I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured.  I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed.”

Rides are inspected each year in the week leading up to the fair. Rides are also subject to spot inspections through the time the fair is open.

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