A shocking Ferris wheel accident left two riders injured Thursday night, and the community is trying to learn what made a boy and girl plummet some 15 to 20 feet to the ground at the amusement park.
Police in Michigan say Natasha McElrath, 16, and an 8-year-old boy suffered injuries when they fell from a Ferris wheel cab during the annual Chelsea Community Fair. They were both transported to Mott Children’s Hospital and listed in critical but stable condition, according to MLive. Witnesses recalled chilling accounts about the Chelsea Ferris wheel accident.
Local resident, Alex Keszler, who said the buckets were tangled up, described what she saw.
“I was in shock. I saw it happening. It was very, very traumatic. I just hope those kids are OK. The opening of the bucket just dumped the kids out.”
Another Chelsea resident was with her family and heading to the Ferris wheel at the time of the accident. Katie Wyss spoke about hearing a loud bang just before arriving.
“Someone said, ‘Oh my God, they’re falling.'”
Linda Evans didn’t actually see the children fall off the Ferris wheel, but she described the accident scene when she arrived.
“We just seen the ambulances. We didn’t go down to check it out. We just watched and let them do their thing. We watched from a distance. We knew it looked like it was pretty serious.”
Many witnesses to the accident reported seeing a young boy on the ground near the ride. He was bleeding, but otherwise still conscious at the time paramedics arrived. Another rider, described as the boy’s older sister, was a short distance away on the platform of the ride.
The ride was closed after the incident, but it was reopened after a state inspector deemed it safe for use. And according to the community fair president, the ride had been inspected and cleared before the yearly carnival began.
According to the parents of the Ferris wheel victims, they believe the accident could have been prevented if measures were in place to increase safety such as bars and restraints.
The incident in Michigan comes on the heels of a roller coaster accident at Universal Studio in Orlando, Florida, that left several riders dangling vertically. The accident was attributed to a technical issue, and, thankfully, no one was seriously injured. Still, it underscores the rising numbers of incidents at fairs and amusement parks on an annual basis.
Trivia: In 2014, statistics say you’re more likely to be injured by a thrill ride than bitten in a shark attack.
There is no further word on the riders’ condition after the Ferris wheel accident, but sources say their injuries are not life-threatening.
[Image via WXYZ-TV Detroit via YouTube]