Accident with Dutch carnival attraction kills one, injures 7 in U.S.

KMG Afterburner “Vortex” at Thorpe Park
KMG Afterburner “Vortex” at Thorpe ParkPhoto: Stefan Scheer / Wikimedia Commons

An 18-year-old man was killed and seven others were injured, three critically, in an accident with a carnival attraction at the Ohio State Fair in the United States on Wednesday. The attraction in question - called the Fireball in the U.S. - was made by Dutch company KMG, AD reports.

Exactly the same attraction is also currently at the Tilburg Fair under the name Chaos. The municipality of Tilburg is considering whether to have that ride run today, according to the newspaper. The Tilburg fair already had an accident with an attraction, in which a 3-year-old boy was critically injured, over the weekend. 

The attraction is sold by KMG under the name Afterburner. The ride consists of a pendulum arm with rotating baskets, in which people sit. A total of 24 people can go on the ride at a time. The ride tilts people into the air and then rotates at 15 rounds per minute. 

In the accident on Wednesday, one of the baskets came loose and dropped to the ground at full speed, while people fell out of another basket. According to KMG project leader Albert Kroon, this happened at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour. 

According to Kroon, this is the first time such a serious accident happened with a KMG machine. The Afterburner ride has been through and passed multiple countries' rigorous inspections. All parts are built with "minimum double" the strength they require. KMG also does the maintenance on the machines. "But that's the responsiblity of the operator", he said to AD.

"On the Afterburner in Ohio we did the maintenance unntil a few years ago", Kroon said. He doesn't know who took over the maintenance and how it was done. The Fireball was built in 1998. "19 years is old for an attraction, but there are older fairground attractions."

KMG is investigating the situation. The company is also finding out where all Afterburners currently are. According to Kroon, it is too early to ask operators to shut down the ride. "We first want to know what happened and then make a plan of action."