Children’s Rollercoaster Collapse at Georgia County Fair Raises Additional Ride Safety Concerns
Carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks are supposed to be safe places where children can have fun on rides. Other children may enjoy the more age-appropriate thrill-oriented rides as a means of testing and proving their courage. However, rides should only simulate dangerous situations and should not be a true test of a child’s mettle.
Unfortunately, memories of the summer of 2016 are marred by a number of significant and troubling fair, carnival, and amusement park accidents. The latest report of a troubling incident at a carnival comes from Georgia and was accompanied by a video of the ordeal. Thankfully for the quick actions of many Good Samaritans, a much more serious accident was averted. However, the following should concern any parent or caregiver who takes a child to a fair or carnival.
Bystanders Hold Up Collapsing Rollercoaster Allowing 6 Children, 1 Adult to Escape
The Bartlow County Fair was supposed to be a fun and enjoyable day out for fairgoers. Unfortunately, what officials have described as a track malfunction on the fair’s Oriental Express rollercoaster created a potentially deadly situation.
The Oriental Express is a small rollercoaster that is sometimes referred to as a “kiddie coaster.” The ride provides young children with a taste of the rollercoaster experience appropriate for their age. Smaller rollercoasters of this type are often ridden alone by the child. However, in the case of an extremely young child or for other reasons, a parent can accompany the child for the ride. On the particular ride when the collapse occurred, the ride was loaded with six children and one adult.
In the video showing the incident, one can see numerous bystanders standing pressed up against the metal barriers surrounding the ride with their arms outstretched. The bystanders were able to stabilize the ride temporarily allowing riders to escape safely and without injury. The ride was later more permanently stabilized with wood and other building materials. It was disassembled following the accident investigation.
While the exact reason for the track collapse is unclear, problems in the assembly and disassembly process are not uncommon for traveling rides. These rides are set-up and broken down on a nearly weekly basis. Frequently the individuals performing work are local contractors who often lack experience working with the particular ride. This can lead to situations where the ride is improperly assembled or parts can sustain damage due to improper disassembly. It will be interesting to see what the direct cause of the track failure in this accident is determined to be.
Who Inspects Carnival Rides and Amusements in Georgia?
In Georgia, regulation is handled by the state’s Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. As for the preventative efforts of inspectors in Georgia, state officials from this office are required to inspect rides, at a minimum, on an annual basis. Inspectors from the office are also authorized to conduct additional spot checks. If an accident or another serious event occurs, these inspectors are authorized to investigate and assess the accident.
State law also requires the reporting of certain serious accidents and injuries that may occur on covered rides and attractions. State law requires reporting when an incident or accident involving a ride produces any personal injury requiring medical treatment. State law also requires a report to be filed when an accident or ride malfunction results in damage to the machine. For less serious injuries, reports must be filed within 30 days of the incident. Serious accidents that produce fatalities, life-altering injuries, or accidents that jeopardized the continued safe operation of the ride must be reported immediately.
Contact a Carnival Accident Injury Lawyer If You or Your Child Were Injured
If you have suffered a serious injury due to a defective amusement park ride, operator negligence, or other reasons outside of your control, the personal injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm may be able to fight for you. As summer continues to wind down and as a reminder to our readers, the problems created by insufficient ride regulation are not limited to fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks. They can also impact fall activities like hayrides and harvest festivals. We urge parents and caregivers to remain vigilant about these risks year-round.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the amusement park accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 today or contact the firm online.