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Deadly Ohio State Fair incident raises concerns about safety of carnival rides across country

Residents at Sterlingfest in Sterling Heights wary of similar rides

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A fatal malfunction during a ride at the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday night that left one man dead and several others injured is having a ripple effect on fairs across the United States.

An 18-year-old was killed in the incident, and seven people are still in the hospital. All rides are being re-inspected.

"It was at its highest point and I saw somebody fall out of the ride, and then a minute later the whole row of seats fell off," witness Kaylie Bellomy said. 

Sterling Heights residents at Sterlingfest are riding a very similar attraction on Thursday.

Carnivals and fairs are usually fun, but after the incident in Ohio, rides are making people think twice, even on opening day at Sterlingfest.

"There will be lessons that will be learned in one way or another that can then be passed on to many amusement fairs and fairs all over America," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said.

Sterling Heights Fire Inspector Don Adsit is working in close cooperation with Gary Zishik, who's in charge of the fair itself.

"A little more diligence today, but it would have been done even if the events didn't occur yesterday in Ohio," Adsit said.

"My heart goes out to the family, to the friends that were involved in that incident," Zishik said.

The ride called 360 is very similar to the one that malfunctioned in Columbus, and even more extreme, but Zishik said there's nothing to worry about.

"We're going to stay vigilant," Zishik said. "We're going to go ahead and continue to do what we normally do. We do daily ride inspections prior to opening."

The company has a ride just like the one the broke down in Ohio, but it's in Missouri. The company voluntarily shut it down on Thursday.

Trusting the rides is easier said than done for some visitors.

"Scared, a little bit nervous," a mother said while her daughter was on the ride. "But I'm nervous any time they got on the ride, no matter what. There's always the 'what if?' You can't stop having fun just because of one accident."

You can watch Jason Colthorp's full story in the video posted above.


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