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Multiple Injuries Reported At NC State Fair

10:58 PM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Five people were taken to WakeMed hospital in Raleigh Thursday night after an accident involving a ride called The Vortex at the North Carolina State Fair.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told reporters at a news briefing late Thursday night that preliminary information he received indicates at least two people suffered critical injuries.

The victims, Harrison said, ranged from ages 14 to 39 and included a ride operator.

About 35 to 40 people, he said were being interviewed in an effort to get a better idea of what happened.

"The ride had stopped, and they were fixing to offload when the ride started off again, but that is preliminary," Harrison said. "It is going to take quite a while to talk to all these people."

Neither Harrison nor Dolores Quesenberry, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Labor, which inspects the fair rides, would speculate about what caused the accident.

Crime scene investigators were at the scene, and Quesenberry said ride inspectors would begin their work looking at every piece of The Vortex to try to find out what went wrong.

"This has shaken us all a bit, and we definitely have these folks in our thoughts and prayers tonight," said Brian Long, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Long said a sheriff's deputy reported at 9:17 p.m. a person being injured on the lower midway and that "almost immediately, the number of injured that were reported rose."

Emergency workers were at the scene within minutes and by 9:37 p.m., all five of the injured had been transported to WakeMed.

Further information about their conditions wasn't available Thursday night.

Thursday night's accident isn't the first involving rides.

In 2002, a midway worker was thrown from a platform of a ride when he was struck by the legs of a passenger on the ride.

In 1998, three people were injured when a wheel-bearing seized on a roller coaster causing a rear-end collision between three cars.


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