A ride malfunction at the state fair in Columbus, Ohio resulted in the death of at least one passenger on Wednesday. Locals officials report that at least seven others were wounded, with five of them in critical condition and two others expected to recover.
The incident occurred at around 7:24 p.m. local time when passengers on the Fire Ball ride were ejected around 20 to 30 feet into the air at a high speed, before falling to the ground. Witnesses have since reported that a passenger row detached from the ride while in motion—an account that is corroborated by online video footage.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine you have family that goes to a state fair and those calls come, that there was a terrible accident, a terrible tragedy, and someone you love is involved,” he said.
Three of the injured were taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. Two were later released with one patient in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.
Another four were brought to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where Dr. David Evans told reporters that “multiple passengers were ejected at high speed, at high energy more than 20 feet or more.”
He said four patients were in intensive care, one of whom was in surgery. The victims vary in ages from teenagers to at least one in their 60s.
“We will get to the bottom of this. There will be complete transparency,” Kasich added.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also issued a statement, saying he and his wife send their “deepest sympathies to all those who were impacted by the accident.”