Ride Operator Had Other Incident Before Ferris Wheel Spill

Posted at 5:07 PM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 18:07:43-04

The organizers of the eastern Tennessee fair where three girls fell from a Ferris wheel kept their ride operator despite an incident across the state line that injured five and caused the owners' son to be jailed.

Private inspectors said they believe a mechanical failure likely caused the gondola to flip over Monday, sending three girls plummeting 30 to 45 feet to the ground.

The ride was operated by a Georgia-based company called Family Attractions Amusement, which was involved in another high-profile carnival accident three years ago.

At the North Carolina State Fair in October 2013, five people were injured when an Italian-made ride called the Vortex unexpectedly restarted as they were trying to get off the ride, flinging them through the air and down to the steel deck below. Investigators determined a safety mechanism had been disabled by ride operators.