Conn. ride malfunction under investigation
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An amusement ride at that malfunctioned at a Connecticut fair, injuring 18 people, will be taken apart in an effort to determine what caused the accident, the ride’s owner said Monday.
Meanwhile, Connecticut state police said the owner, Stewart Amusement Co., has no history of safety violations. And an official with the successor company of the ride’s manufacturer said he wasn’t aware of any previous similar problems involving the “Zumur” ride.
Riders in swings hanging by chains were sent hurtling into each other and the ride itself Sunday at Norwalk’s annual Oyster Festival when the drive system that spins the riders suddenly froze, ride owner Richard Stewart said.
“I heard large clanks and saw the swings crashing into the center of the ride,” John Kydes, who waiting for his children to exit an adjacent ride, told The Hour of Norwalk.
The injuries were minor, police said. Twelve children and an adult were taken to hospitals and all but one was released. Five people refused treatment at the scene, authorities said. An 8-year-old boy remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday, police said.
State troopers who investigated the mishap released the ride back to Monroe-based Stewart on Sunday night, and he said he brought it back to his company to take it apart.
“The drive system on the ride locked up for some reason. We don’t know why,” Stewart said.
Stewart said early reports that the ride lost power and people fell to the ground were wrong.
“This is the most serious accident we’ve had,” he said. “We have an excellent safety record.”
State troopers inspect all rides at every carnival or fair before they can open to the public, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.
Vance said troopers inspected the Zumur ride before the fair began on Friday. He said state investigators will likely be present when the ride is taken apart.
Stewart said he bought the ride new in 1983 from Chance Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Wichita, Kan., and never had a problem with it until Sunday. The company stopped making the ride in the mid-1980s.
Stewart Amusement has been operating rides and other attractions in Connecticut and New York since 1983.
Officials at Chance’s successor, Chance Rides Inc. in Wichita, were discussing taking part in the dismantling of ride, said Jeff Roth, Chance’s vice president of administration.
“In my years of being associated with the Chance companies, I’ve never ever heard of an incident with the Zumur ride,” Roth said.
There have been four reported incidents involving minor injuries on Stewart Amusement rides since 2010, according to the Amusement Safety Organization in Montecito, Calif., which tracks amusement ride incidents across the country. None of the four involved the Zumur.
The four included a boy who suffered a rib injury after being struck by the side of a ride carriage; a boy who injured his elbow when he slammed it down on a ride; a man who injured his shoulder when his cousin slammed into him during a ride; and a woman who slipped and fell while getting off a ride, according to the organization.
Stewart said occasional minor mishaps occur at all amusement parks.
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