UPDATE: Mother of Ohio State Fair ride malfunction victim speaks out about late son

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 10/14/17

The mother of the 18-year-old high school student who was killed in a tragic ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair is now speaking publicly about her son.

Amber Duffield holds on to a necklace to remember the essence of her 18-year-old son, Tyler Jarrell.

She says he was humble, determined, and ready to change the world.

Jarrell was a senior at Franklin Heights High School in Columbus, a four year member of the Navy Junior ROTC, and a four year active member of the Quarter Masters Explorer with the Columbus Police Department.

Duffield says her son should be here now living out his dream he's had since he was a little boy.

She added that after Tyler's death, she learned how generous her son was to others.

She heard stories of how he gave his own money he earned working at McDonald's to help people who needed it, but never told his family.


UPDATE: 09/17/17

Crews have begun dismantling the thrill ride involved in a deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair.

WBNS-10TV reports the removal of the Fire Ball ride at the state fairgrounds began with a final inspection Saturday.

A four-passenger carriage on the swinging and spinning ride broke apart July 26, on the opening day of the fair, and flung one of the ride's carriages into the air.

An 18 year-old high school student, Tyler Jarrell, died on the midway while his girlfriend, 19-year-old Keziah Lewis, was critically injured. Six others also were injured.

A State Highway Patrol investigation found the ride operators were not to blame. Dutch manufacturer, KMG, said the cause was excessive corrosion of a support beam. The accident resulted in the shutdown of similar rides worldwide.


UPDATE: 08/31/17

Authorities say there won't be any criminal charges in the deadly thrill ride accident at this year's Ohio State Fair.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said Thursday that there's not enough evidence to move forward with a criminal case.

An 18-year-old high school student was killed and seven other people were hurt on the fair's opening day on July 26 when the Fire Ball ride broke apart as it was swinging with a full load of passengers.

The ride's Dutch manufacturer, KMG, has said that excessive corrosion on a support beam led to a "catastrophic failure." It shut down similar rides worldwide after the accident.

The State Highway Patrol in Ohio led the investigation and says it interviewed over 80 witnesses, including people on the ride when it broke apart.


UPDATE: 8/7/2017

The Dutch manufacturer of a thrill ride that broke apart and killed an 18-year-old man at the Ohio State Fair says excessive corrosion on a support beam led to a "catastrophic failure."

KMG posted the memo dated Friday on its Facebook page Sunday that says company officials visited the accident site and conducted metallurgical tests.

The statement says the corrosion "dangerously reduced" the thickness on the wall of the beam holding a passenger gondola on the swinging and spinning ride. The company says the ride was 18 years old.

Tyler Jarrell died from blunt force trauma injuries after being tossed into the air when the Fire Ball ride broke apart July 26. Four people remained hospitalized last week, including one in a coma.

KMG ordered similar rides shut down worldwide after the accident.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 8/3/2017, 11:09 A.M.

Four people injured when a thrill ride fell apart last week at the Ohio State Fair remain hospitalized, including a woman still in a coma.

18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed, and seven people injured, when the swinging and spinning Fire Ball ride broke apart July 26 on the state fair's midway.

Jarrell's burial was Tuesday. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Keziah Lewis, remains hospitalized in serious condition.

Relatives of 18-year-old Jennifer Lambert say she's opened her eyes briefly but hasn't woken up.

Forty-two-year-old Russell Franks is in critical condition. His niece, 36-year-old Tamica Dunlap, is in serious condition.

A co-owner of the company that provides rides at the fair in Columbus has said he's certain the ride fell apart because of a mechanical problem. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.


UPDATE: 8/1/2017, 6:43 PM

Tuesday morning in Ohio, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to the 18-year old man killed last week when the “Fireball” ride flew apart at the Ohio State Fair.

The funeral for 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was held at a church in Grove City, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.

Just days before his death on the "Fireball" ride last Wednesday, Jarrell had enlisted in the Marines.

He wanted to serve in the infantry or combat engineering, and spoke about possibly becoming a police officer someday.

Seven other people were severely injured in the accident, which happened on the opening night of the Ohio State Fair.

Investigators have not said what caused the ride to break apart, but records show it was inspected just hours before the accident.

While the “Fireball” ride remains closed, all other rides at the Ohio State Fair have reopened.

Jarrell's family says it's planning to file a wrongful-death lawsuit in connection with his death.


UPDATE: 7/30/2017 8:00 AM

Officials say rides shut down at the Ohio State Fair after a thrill ride broke apart and killed a man are open after being re-inspected.

Fair officials made the announcement Sunday morning. Some rides, mostly in the fair's Kiddie Land, had previously reopened.

All rides were shut down Wednesday night after a swinging and spinning ride called the Fire Ball broke apart, killing 18-year-old high school student Tyler Jarrell and injuring seven others, several critically.

The Dutch manufacturer of the Fire Ball subsequently ordered similar rides to shut down worldwide.

A co-owner of the company providing rides at the fair has told WCMH-TV in Columbus he's certain a mechanical failure caused the ride to break apart.

Jarrell's family has hired an attorney to possibly pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.


UPDATE: 7/29/2017 5:06 PM

An owner of the company providing rides at the Ohio State Fair thinks a mechanical failure caused a thrill ride to break apart, killing an 18-year-old man.

Amusements of America co-owner John Vivona told WCMH-TV in Columbus on Friday the company is "devastated." He's convinced the Fire Ball accident Wednesday was a mechanical failure and not a problem with the ride's operators or inspections. He says state and third-party inspectors examined the ride before the fair opened that day.

Tyler Jarrell, of Columbus, was killed and seven people were injured, several critically, when the swinging and spinning ride broke apart. A coroner says Jarrell died from blunt force trauma. He would have been a high school senior and recently enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Some rides have since reopened.


Update: 7/29/2017

A coroner says preliminary findings show the man killed after a ride fell apart at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus died of blunt force trauma.

Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz said Friday that 18-year-old Tyler Jerrell suffered head, trunk and lower extremity injuries when he was thrown into the air after a ride called the Fire Ball ride malfunctioned Wednesday. Seven people were injured, several critically.

Jerrell's family has hired an attorney to possibly pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

The ride's Dutch manufacturer ordered Fire Ball rides shut down worldwide after the accident.

Jerrell would have been a high school senior. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps a week before the accident.

Some rides on the state fair midway have reopened after being inspected by state officials.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 7/27/2017, 12:56 P.M.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has released the names of the man killed, and 6 of the 7 people injured, when a ride fell apart on Wednesday at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

Police say the accident happened at 7:24 P.M. Wednesday, on a ride called the Fireball, which spins and swings passengers in a pendulum-like motion.

Tyler Jarrell, 18, of Columbus, Ohio, was pronounced deceased at the fairgrounds.

The following people were injured and taken to Columbus-area hospitals:

Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus, Ohio
Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, Ohio
Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus, Ohio
A 14 year-old male, whose name has not been released at the request of his parents.

The Fireball ride is owned and operated by Amusements of America.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has ordered a full investigation, and ordered all rides at the fair closed until additional safety inspections can be conducted.

Kasich said,

"I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio's fair," adding, "We will get to the bottom of this."

A video of the incident posted on YouTube showed seats of the ride breaking off and bodies flying through the air. A witness told NBC News that "the whole car went flying off and over the side while in motion."

Sisters Britney and Kiley Neal were next in line to ride the Fire Ball when the row of seats detached.

"The ride was going as normal, and then all of a sudden you see people flying out, and then the guy hit the emergency stop button, which then made the seat fly off and people flew off as well," Britney told TODAY on Thursday.

The girls' mother Kristy Neal, who was in a different part of the Ohio State Fair, said one of her daughters called her in hysterics.

"I just ran towards the direction of the rides. There were two state troopers beside me. I don’t know if they had even heard anything at that point and I said, ‘Something terrible has happened. I need to find my daughters,’" Kristy said.

The sister said at home they "cried [their] eyes out," and got little sleep, adding that they are "truly traumatized."

William Brown told NBC News in an email that his wife was on the ride before the accident occurred. "I was in total disbelief," Brown said. "My wife just got off that ride before the accident happened. It could have been her," he said.

Columbus fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin told NBC affiliate WCMH that two people who were injured were in stable condition.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has received three patients, a hospital spokesperson said. All three will likely be hospitalized for at least a week, according to Dr. David Evans, a surgeon for the hospital.

Evans told reporters that they reviewed video of the accident "that demonstrated that multiple passengers were ejected at high speed with high energy, many feet — at least 20 or 30, if not more — into the air and then crashed at a significant distance from the ride."

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center said it received three patients, one of whom was in critical condition, a spokesman said. The other two are in fair condition.

As of Thursday morning, two of the three patients brought to the medical center had been discharged, a spokesperson told NBC News in an email. A third person remained in critical condition.

Four people remain hospitalized between the two medical centers. Three victims remained in critical condition.

The fair, which is scheduled to run through Aug. 6, attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year. More than 921,000 people attended in 2016, according to fair organizers.

Kasich said the ride was inspected multiple times.

Michael Vartorella, chief inspector for amusement ride safety for the state Department of Agriculture, said his team, as well as a third party, inspected the ride. "It's been looked at about three or four times over the course of two days," he said.

"We take this job very serious, and when we have a tragedy like this it hits everybody, it hits us really hard," Vartorella said. "My children, my grandchildren ride this equipment. Our guys do not rush through this stuff. We look at it, we take care of it, and we pretend it's our own."

"This ride was inspected at a couple of different stages, and it was signed off today," he said.

On Thursday, Columbus' Mayor Andrew Ginther said he was praying for those injured in the accident.

"I am deeply saddened by the tragic accident at the Ohio State Fair last night," Ginther said in a statement. "I pray for the victims and their families and am reminded again of the outstanding work done by our first responders every day."

The Ohio State fair will stay open but rides will be closed pending safety checks, Kasich said.

"It's such a fun fair. This is just a real tragedy," fair-goer Susie Buchanan, who did not witness the accident, told WCMH. "You know, you come over here you think you’re going to have a lot of fun and then you end up with something like this. This is just really a shame for those families."


UPDATE: 7/27/2017 7:30AM

A Columbus fire official says the man killed after an "aggressive thrill ride" fell apart at the Ohio State Fair was 18.

WKRC-TV reports a Columbus Division of Fire spokesman says the seven people injured Wednesday night on the Fire Ball ride range in age from 13 to 41.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center said early Thursday it's treating three people, two in critical condition and one in serious condition.

The fair is reopening Thursday with rides not operating until they're deemed safe.


UPDATE: 7/27/2017 7:00AM

A woman waiting to get on the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair says she saw it break apart, sending riders into the air, one man to his death.

Kaylie Bellamy tells WCMH-TV it was chaos Wednesday night. She says she was run over trying to get out of the way.

The accident prompted California State Fair officials to close the Fire Ball ride there.

Ohio officials are investigating the cause of the accident. The ride had passed inspection before the fair in Columbus opened. They say the fair will reopen Thursday but the rides won't operate until they are deemed safe.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center said it's treating three people, two in critical condition and one seriously injured.


UPDATE: 7/27/2017 2:15AM

The Ohio State Fair will be open Thursday, a day after one person was killed and seven others were injured when an "aggressive thrill" ride broke apart.

But officials say the rides won't be running until they're all determined to be safe.

Dramatic video captured by a bystander Wednesday evening shows the Fire Ball ride swinging and spinning when it crashes into something and part of the ride flies off. Screams are heard as passengers are thrown to the ground.

Officials say the man who was killed was one of several people who were thrown. Three of the injured are in critical condition.

Officials say the ride had passed its inspections.

In a statement early Thursday, the fair says its "hearts are heavy for the families of those involved."

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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UPDATE: 7/26/17 10:40PM:

The number of people injured on a ride Wednesday night at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus has risen to seven. This includes a 13-year old boy. Five people are confirmed critically injured and two in stable condition.

Ohio Governor John Kasich ordered all rides to be shut down pending an investigation.

The accident happened on the opening night of the fair on Wednesday and killed one person.

"Amusements of America" who provided the "Fire Ball" ride to the fair, has not yet released a statement.


UPDATE: 7/26/17 9:30PM

Governor John Kasich has released the following statement about the accident at the Ohio State Fair.

It says quote, "I am terribly saddened by this accent, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio's fair. our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured. I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed."

Stick with The News Center for updates about the victims' conditions and the latest on the investigation.


One person is dead and five are critically injured from an accident at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

That's according to our sister station, WSAZ.

The Columbus Division of Fire says a ride severely malfunctioned leading to the fatal accident.

Battalion Chief, Steve Martin, said one other person is in stable condition.

There's no word on which ride the accident took place on.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center confirms it has received three of the patients on its campus.

The fair just opened Wednesday and runs until August 6th.



 
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