“The Vertigo” is a new ride at the fair, purchased in 2009. On the video, you can see ride operators with Powers Great American Midways tinkering with the center of the ride before starting it up. The ride first goes up a pole and was on its way down about 45 seconds later when something went wrong.
Jennifer Williams was watching her kids on the ride when she says the ride “looked like it was leaning in too far. One of the kids, I guess, hit the fence when it swung by. I don’t know if their foot got caught in it. The fence, it was hooked together, it kind of pulled. And so they were running into each other.”
The video then shows a ride operator hopping the fence in an attempt to move it out of the way of the oncoming passengers, but instead a swing hits him in the head, knocking him to the ground.
Another witness, Ruthie Kelley says the rider operator “was trying to set the fence down because when they came around, the swings, they were bunching. He was trying to push the rest of them down so the [kids] wouldn’t keep running into the rest of the fence. One of the swings just popped him in the head and it scared me to death. I ran over to him. I thought it killed him.”
But the fair’s Executive Director Martin Svrcek says the rider operator was alert and talking as he was taken to a local hospital for observation. One of the first children to hit the fence was also treated for injuries to his foot. Both the boy and the ride operator have been treated and released from the hospital.
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