Eight people were taken to hospitals after a ride shut down at the Delta Fair in Memphis on Saturday.
Riders were enjoying the Moonraker, which spins around an axis and tilts up and down on an angle, when the ride’s computer detected a problem and immediately began safety shutdown, said Matt Snyder, the fair’s safety director. As the ride stopped spinning and began to descend, the operator panicked and pressed a manual override button that released lap bar safety restraints.
Some riders fell into the metal bars or slid out of their seats. No one fell off the ride.
Fair officials said the following day they were told initially by first responders that there were no visible injuries, and didn’t learn the extent of the injuries until the riders were taken to a hospital.
In a statement Sunday, officials apologized for originally downplaying the injuries. Among them were a fractured leg, wrist and collarbone.
“Our apologies and condolences go out to the individuals on the ride involved, and also to everyone that was under the impression that we were trying to mislead you,” the statement said. “In no way were our intentions to mislead or lie to anyone and certainly do not want to come across that way.”
The ride was shut down following the incident but the fair remains open through Sept. 11. The ride had received a technical inspection in the past three years, and two more inspections in the days before the fair opened this week, Snyder said.
A ride inspector was scheduled to check the ride on Tuesday, said fair president Mark Lovell.
Last month, three girls were injured when they fell 30 to 45 feet from a Ferris wheel at a fair in Greene County in eastern Tennessee. Officials said the gondola the girls were riding in overturned. Inspectors said worn-out rivet fasteners allowed a trim piece to come loose and get lodged in the frame of the wheel, tipping the gondola over.
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