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Hersheypark closes ride in response to Ohio State Fair death

Written by John Latimer/The Lebanon Daily News | Jul 31, 2017 8:26 AM
ohio_state_fair_amusement_park.jpg

An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper removes a ground spike from in front of the fire ball ride at the Ohio State Fair Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The fair opened Thursday but its amusement rides remained closed one day after Tyler Jarrell, 18, was killed and seven other people were injured when the thrill ride broke apart and flung people into the air. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Claw has similarities to the deadly Fire Ball

(Hershey) -- Hersheypark has closed a ride with similarities to the one that malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair this week, killing an 18-year-old man and injuring seven others.

The decision to close Hersheypark's The Claw ride stemmed from an abundance of caution said Garrett Gallia, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts' vice-president of communications and corporate relations.

Gallia noted there are important differences to the Fire Ball ride that malfunctioned on the first day of the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday night.

A pendulum ride that swings its arms 40 feet into the air while spinning its riders in a gondola, the Fire Ball broke apart on last Wednesday throwing riders into the sky, causing them to slam to the ground.

The body of the man who died in the incident, 18-year-old Tyrell Jarrell of Columbus, was found 50 feet from the ride, emergency officials said. 

Seven other people were injured when they were tossed 20 to 30 feet. They ranged from 14 to 42 years old. Four remained in the hospital Thursday, including three in critical condition, hospital officials said.

"We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with all those impacted," said Gallia in an emailed statement.

A big difference between Hersheypark's Claw ride and the Fire Ball is that former is stationary, Gallia explained.

"While the Ohio ride is similar in some respects to our Claw ride, our ride is a fixed 'Park' model and produced by a different manufacturer. Additionally, there are typically differences in fixed-site rides and mobile rides in terms of construction and maintenance, while inspections procedures can vary by state and municipality."

The Claw ride will remain closed until more information is learned about the incident in Ohio, Gallia said. 

"As safety is our top priority, we felt that it was very much the right thing to do," he said. "We should note that our Claw has never experienced a problem or issue remotely similar to what occurred in Ohio and it undergoes rigorous maintenance and daily inspections by our state certified ride inspectors."

All rides at the Ohio State Fair were ordered closed on Wednesday by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The Netherlands-based manufacturer of the Fire Ball, KGM, has asked all fairs worldwide to discontinue operation of it and similar rides.

 

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Hershey, News

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