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A simple carnival ride could cost you your life

There's nothing like a state or county fair — the music, the carnival food (is that funnel cake I smell?), the midway games and the rides. While the food might be iffy, it's likely not going to leave you with more than a day or so of intestinal discomfort. It's the rides that might wind up killing you.

That's exactly what befell one unfortunate young man at the Ohio State Fair last month in Columbus.

Two dozen fairgoers queued up to board a popular ride, the Fireball. Swinging like a pendulum, the ride lifted the thrill-seekers high up over the midway. But something went horribly wrong. A chain of seats broke free from their mooring, tossing riders hither and yon before they slammed down onto the hard ground below. A bystander filming a video of the ride caught the moment the seats broke apart. In addition to the 18-year-old man who died, seven more riders suffered injuries.

A thorough inspection after the fatal accident revealed that "excessive corrosion" in a spot not clearly visible caused the ride to malfunction.

The carnival ride fatality did little to diminish the eagerness of attendees to enjoy the rides at other fairs and carnivals around the country. Still, last year alone the Consumer Product Safety Commission logged 30,000 injuries that were coded as involving an "amusement park."

If you are injured while a passenger on a carnival or amusement park ride due to malfunctioning equipment or negligent acts on the part of the operator, you may be able to make a claim for damages against the premises' owner, the amusement park company who owns the rides and others who bear liability.

Source: The Washington Post, "Style ‘It’s fun to be scared’: Life and mortality at the carnival," Monica Hesse, Aug. 14, 2017

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