Cal/OSHA OKs Reopening Three Fire Ball Rides That Were Halted After Deadly Ohio Accident

Delirium at California’s Great America in Santa Clara is back up and running. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is still closed

California officials on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to reopen three Fire Ball rides, including the one at California's Great America in Santa Clara, nearly a week after a deadly accident on the same ride at the Ohio state fair.

Fire Ball rides at six California amusement parks were voluntarily halted last week

As of this week, though, Delirium at California’s Great America, La Revolución at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and Beach Blaster at Belmont Park in San Diego have successfully passed inspections. Three others, including the one in Santa Cruz, are still closed. It remains unclear when they will be back up and running.

Cal/OSHA released a statement, which said in part: "The Revolution type rides are similar to but designed differently than the ride that malfunctioned in Ohio. Cal/OSHA’s Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit reviewed non-destructive testing results conducted by the ride owners today and determined that the rides can open again and operate safely."

Last Wednesday, at least one person was killed and seven others injured after the swinging and spinning amusement park ride broke apart, hurling people through the air at the Ohio state fair.

The horrific accident prompted Cal/OSHA’s Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit to contact amusement park owners and ask them to close the rides, pending word from the manufacturers, KMG or Chance Morgan, Inc./ Chance Rides, Inc., or after a ride inspection by Cal/OSHA.

Dramatic video captured by a bystander shows the ride swinging back and forth like a pendulum and spinning in the air before part of it snaps, flinging riders to the ground.

In a statement, the Ohio State Fair said: "Our hearts are heavy for the families of those in last night's tragic accident." 

Officials with the Santa Cruz Boardwalk said they closed down the ride out of an abundance of caution.

However, there are key differences between the Santa Cruz ride and the one in Ohio, according to Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes. The Fire Ball at the Ohio State Fair is portable, which means it can be taken apart and moved from one event to the next.

"Our ride is a fixed ride, a permanent amusement ride," Reyes said. "It’s inspected daily as state mandated. California has some of the most stringent ride safety rules in the world."

On its website, Amusements of America says that since its debut in 2002, the Fire Ball has become "one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway." The company description of the ride says it swings riders 40 feet above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.

Fire Ball rides are located at six parks across the state, including:

• Orange County Fair owned and operated by Ray Cammack Shows (portable ride)

• Cal Expo State Fair owned and operated by Butler Amusements (portable ride)

• Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

• California’s Great America in Santa Clara

• Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park

• Belmont Park in San Diego

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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