Michael Vartorella, Ohio's chief inspector of amusement ride safety, said the Fire Ball was inspected three or four times before the fair opened. Almost two weeks later, the cause of the accident was revealed.
Albert Kroon, product manager for the Dutch company behind the ride, said in a statement that investigators determined that "excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam reduced the beam's wall thickness over the years". Seven others, including Jarrell's girlfriend, were injured when the ride collapsed. Lewis is in serious condition. The ride had passed multiple inspections in the days leading up to the accident.
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The company said the ride was 18 years old.
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Video footage captured by a bystander showed the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum before a part falls off, throwing riders through the air and to the ground as it continued swinging.
KMG said it is working with safety experts on the inspection process after what happened.
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The "excessive corrosion" was discovered inside the Fire Ball's gondola support beam during a "metallurgical inspection" of the ride, Kroon said. KMG said any fairs featuring the Fireball should cease operation of the ride immediately pending further investigation. The Great Allentown Fair once featured a smaller version, but it is no longer in the fair's ride package, a state official said.