Probe Begins into Broken Fair Ride
Posted September 27, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
SANFORD — State inspectors have begun re-examination of a ride that collapsed at a county fair Saturday night.
Seven people were hurt when part of the "Spider" ride at the Lee County Fair broke off.
Six children and one adult were injured when one of the tentacles broke off, dropping one of the passenger cars at the end of the arm to the ground.
State labor inspectors say the ride was examined last week, but they will be going over the machinery again. This time they'll focus on the pivot point of the ride, where the ride's main gear and the arm snapped.
Two cars were on each arm. On the affected arm, one car remains in place, the other is the car that fell to the ground.
The NC Department of Labor says it had inspectors at the site before the fair opened to check the safety of all the rides. They spent two days at the site, and everything came back okay. The ride had also been x-rayed in March and apparently showed no problems.
Inspectors have contacted the manufacturer to see if there are problems in the ride's history. But at this point, nothing has given inspectors any indication there would be a problem with the ride when people were on it.
Labor officials say as far as they know this is the only fair ride ever to have an accident like this in North Carolina. There was an accident at the NC State Fair several years ago, but in that instance the problem was caused by a passenger, not by the ride itself.
It could be up to a month before a final determination is made about why the "Spider" ride broke.
Six of those hurt were treated and released; the seventh, a child, sustained an injured wrist that may require surgery.
This past weekend was the fair's final weekend in Sanford. The Spider remains so it can be inspected further; all the other rides were packed up and taken to the next fair on the schedule.
If you have any questions or concerns about a ride or its operator at the next fair you go to, you can call the toll free Department of Labor hotline. The number is1-800-LABOR-NC.