Lawyer of Fire Ball victim releases photo showing crack on gondola

COLUMBUS(WCMH) — The lawyer for one of the victims of the Fire Ball accident at the Ohio State Fair has released a picture he says shows a crack in the ride just moments before it broke apart.

Attorney Bart Keyes, Keziah Lewis’ lawyer, sent NBC4 the pictures on Saturday. In the photos, a distinct crack is visible on one of the ride’s gondolas.

“You can see it from the ground. So I would expect the operators who are at that ride and who are walking around the ride every time it starts and every time it stops… it would be very, very shocking to me that that was not noticeable to them,” Keyes said.

Keyes said the picture is evidence in this case.

“The Ohio Highway Patrol sent this picture in, and it is a photograph that was taken by another patron of the fair on one of the ride cycles before the one where the gondola broke,” said Keyes.

In its report, the Ohio State Highway Patrol references a picture showing a crack on the ride, but investigators never released the image and would not confirm if this is the same one.  Keyes said this was indeed taken right before the Fire Ball broke in the air.

Saturday morning, crews began the task of inspecting and breaking down the ride, removing the other seats that stayed intact during the accident.

“When they were taken off, we saw the same type of corrosion in each one that occurred in the one that broke. You could look down in the open arms of those gondolas and see that same corrosion in every single one,” Keyes said.

He said he noticed that other seats were also worn.

“It was happening in all of these gondolas, and it could have been any one of them that could have broken and it just happen to be this one this time,” Keyes said.

With all of these problems coming to light, Keyes said this is a prime example of why operators need to keep a closer eye on the rides they operate.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that they were not playing close enough attention to see this,” Keyes said.

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