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