Two Rides Pulled From Greater Gulf State Fair After Ohio Tragedy


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Two thrill rides scheduled to appear at the Greater Gulf State Fair have been pulled from the lineup, due to safety concerns following a ride malfunction in Ohio that killed a rider.

North American Midway Entertainment, a traveling amusement park which provides the rides for the Greater Gulf State Fair, announced Thursday it is pulling its Fire Ball and Freak Out rides until further notice.

“Our carnival company went ahead to decide to pull out the Freak Out and the Fireball until we find out what the cause is and until we get the manufacturer to come and take a look at the ride,” said Woods.

Both rides were scheduled to appear at the Greater Gulf State Fair, which runs October 27 through November 5, according to Josh Woods, Executive Director at The Grounds.

“Safety is our number one priority. That is just going to be something that we are going to continue to reinforce moving forward,” said Woods.

Wednesday evening, one person was killed and seven others injured when part of a Fire Ball ride fell off mid-ride, throwing people into the air, at the Ohio State Fair. The fair was open Thursday, but all rides remained shut down.

The person killed was an 18-year-old high school student,Tyler Jarrell, who had just signed up for the Marines a week earlier.

While North American Midway Entertainment did not provide the rides at the Ohio State Fair, the Dutch manufacturer of the Fire Ball ride has ordered all versions of the thrill ride to stop operating.

The manufacturer, KMG, operates 43 of these rides around the world, with 11 of those here in America, according to the Associated Press.

North American Midway Entertainment posted the following message on Facebook Thursday evening, extending condolences to those impacted by Wednesday’s tragedy in Ohio:

The Freak Out ride is made by the same manufacturer and has a similar build as the Fire Ball.

The cause of the ride malfunction in Ohio is still under investigation, but the operator says it had been inspected multiple times before the opening of the fair.

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