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Maker Explains Ride's 'Catastrophic Failure'

Corrosion ate away at beam for 18 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2017 1:14 AM CDT
'Excessive Corrosion' Blamed for State Fair Ride Death
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper removes a ground spike from in front of the Fireball ride at the Ohio State Fair on July 27, 2017, in Columbus.   (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair last month was caused by "excessive corrosion" over the 18 years the Fireball ride had been in operation, according to ride maker KMG. Investigators in Columbus found that corrosion "on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam's wall thickness over the years," the Dutch company said in a statement posted on Facebook Sunday. "This finally led to a catastrophic failure of the ride during operation." One person was killed and seven others injured when the ride broke apart on July 26, sending riders and debris flying, CNN reports.

After the accident, KMG ordered the shutdown of the dozens of other Fireball rides in operation while it carried out an investigation. The company says it's working with safety experts to develop an inspection protocol, the AP reports. Officials say the Ohio ride was inspected three or four times before the state fair opened, with the ride receiving passing marks in areas including brakes, cracks, and proper assembly and installation. The family of Tyler Jarrell, the 18-year-old man killed in the accident, has hired an attorney to look at a possible wrongful death lawsuit. (Jarrell enlisted in the Marine Corps days before his death.)

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