Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Shuts Down Ride

The Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk has shut down one of its rides today. The Santa Cruz-based amusement space decided to shut down The Fire Ball ride for an inspection after an incident at the Ohio State Fair. The California State Fair also closed down the same ride at its location on Wednesday night.

The Fireball ride at the Ohio State Fair malfunctioned during operation on opening night. It is supposed to swing rows of seats like a pendulum and spin. During the spinning portion of one ride, pieces of the structure holding the ride together fell apart including one row of seats. The Ohio Fireball had been tested multiple times prior to this incident and passed. An investigation is open into the ride’s failure and is still in the early stages. So far, however, it appears to be a tragic accident.

Tragic accident or not—California amusement vendors are not taking any chances. The rides closed at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the State Fair were manufactured by the same Holland, OH manufacturer as the failed equipment. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk says that the ride will remain closed until the manufacturer confirms that it is safe to operate.

Another ride at California’s Great America called Delirium may not operate either given its similarities to The Fireball. Great America has yet to confirm or deny that it will continue to operate. The Boardwalk will take advantage of the ride’s daytime closure and use the light to perform an inspection on the equipment.

The ride’s failure at the Ohio State Fair has killed one person and left two others in critical condition. Witnesses to the incident said that one of the carts holding 4 riders came apart and sent at least two people flying through the air before landing on the concrete.

The Fireball went through careful assembly and inspection prior to opening day with 70 test rides made. 4 of those rides did fail an inspection but no red flags were raised. In light of what has happened, the Indiana State Fair has announced they will not operate the ride this year.

Ohio Governor John Kaisch has already ordered all of the rides at the fair to be shut down pending inspection. He also ordered a full investigation into The Fireball’s failure. A total of seven people including the two that were critically injured were sent to area hospitals for treatment. Two of them have been released already.

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