Midway rides have reopened at Ohio State Fair; Amusements of America issues statement

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Agriculture said that 71 of the rides at the fair have been re-inspected and cleared to reopen after Gov. John Kasich shut them all down following a thrill ride malfunction that killed a teenager, who had recently enlisted in the Marines.

Rides at the Ohio State Fair’s Kiddieland and some elsewhere in the amusement park reopened Friday after clearing inspections.

Four rides, which were never operational, have been removed from the grounds.

Amusements of America, the company that operates many of the rides at the Fair, issued a statement Sunday:

The decision to shut down similar rides around the world and reopen the Ohio midway indicates that this is an issue with a specific ride and not the ride operator or inspectors. There is no evidence that operator error played a role in the accident. We continue to keep those affected by this tragic accident in our prayers and work cooperatively with the ongoing investigation.

Jason Roberts is letting his children ride all the rides at the fair. He says he doesn’t want to take the “fair experience” away from them and the rides are a part of that experience.

“We just got here but they seem to be having a good time so far,” said Jason Roberts, referring to his two children riding rides at the Ohio State Fair. “Little leery but they’ve rode this particular ride every year that we come so, it’s a little bit of nostalgia I guess.

“Every once in a while there is going to be an accident like what happened. You can’t prevent everything,” says Roberts.

Roberts isn’t the only parent that feels this way.

“Rides, you’re taking a risk no matter where you go. It’s a tragic accident what happened, thoughts and prayers go out with the families that were involved but you have to keep on going,” said Keith Rice.

The Fire Ball will remain closed as the investigation into that ride continues.

The 18-year-old who died is Tyler Jarrell. His girlfriend was among seven other people who were injured when the Fire Ball flung riders — some still strapped in their seats — through the air Wednesday night. A few people on the midway were hit by debris.

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