Since the start of summer, we have blogged about an 11-year-old who was scalped by a carnival ride, a woman who was violently ejected from a mountain roller coaster and three girls who fell out of a Ferris wheel, all of which happened in Tennessee. Just earlier this month, eight other people were injured in a Memphis carnival ride accident, most of whom were children.
The eight people were on the Moonraker, a carnival ride that spins on its axis while tilting up and down, when the ride’s systems detected a problem and began to shut down. However, as the ride stopped spinning and descended, the operator pressed the manual override button in a panic. This released the safety restraints and riders fell into the metal bars or fell to the ground. Among the injuries reported was a fractured leg, a fractured wrist and a broken collarbone.
This most recent carnival ride accident took place in spite of the fact Tennessee Valley Fair officials promised they were taking extra precautions and their rides were safe.
CAUSES OF CARNIVAL RIDE ACCIDENTS
According to the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is an average 2,500 carnival ride-related injures per year and two-thirds of those injuries occur with children. Carnival accidents can occur when a mechanical malfunction causes the ride to operate in an unexpected manner. Additionally, carnival rides can have a defective design.
In this particular instance, the carnival ride accident was caused by operator error. Ride operator error occurs more frequently in transient amusement parks, which travel from town to town. For the most part, many ride operators are temporary workers hired from within the towns and have little experience. There have also been cases of ride operators who drink on the job, fall asleep, are paying attention to their phones or are distracted by other amusement park attendants.
Employers in transient carnivals, and even in large theme parks, must make sure they diligently teach their employees how to not only operate the equipment, but also what to do in an emergency situation.
Stanley A. Davis is a Tennessee personal injury attorney who fights for those injured due to negligence in Nashville.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4