Rider Falls From Zipper Ride At Montana State Fair

3:15 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
Zipper Ride (Photo: Great Falls Tribune)
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Tiffany Aldinger , Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune

The Montana State Fair's Zipper ride was closed Tuesday night after a female fell from one of the cars, said John Hanschen, president of the Mighty Thomas Carnival.

The fall happened while passengers were being unloaded, and the ride was not moving at the time, Hanschen said.

"It looks like one of the cars may have been higher than it should have been during regular unloading," he said Tuesday.

Hanschen did not know the condition of the woman as of Wednesday morning.

"I believe she just fell of the ride, to the best of my knowledge, I believe it was a simple fall getting off the Zipper, not any more complicated than that," Hanschen said Wednesday morning. He said he was not at the scene though and that local authorities were investigating. He said the company started inspecting the ride Tuesday night and would continue the inspection this morning.

Capt. Ray Hitchcock with the Cascade County Sheriff's Office said his records do not indicate that sheriff's deputies responded to the incident, though Montana ExpoPark is within the department's jurisdiction. A call to Great Falls Police Department spokesman Sgt. Bryan Slavik Wednesday morning has not been returned.

Hanschen said he didn't know how far the female fell, but "it was far enough to obviously require medical attention."

Chuck Rovreit, battalion chief with Great Falls Fire/Rescue, said department reports indicate the woman fell sideways approximately 8 to 10 feet and hit her head, which started bleeding. Emergency crews immobilized her as a precaution and transported her to Benefis Health System.

Riders were still being unloaded off the ride as the ambulance carrying the female left the fairgrounds. After the passengers were off the ride, the Zipper was closed and inspected.

"We'll check everything out tonight and in the morning, and see if something malfunctioned or if it was an operator error," Hanschen said.

Hanschen said the incident hasn't caused him to have any more concern about the carnival than he has on any given day.

"I'm concerned about the safe operation of everything," he said. "It's a job that requires care and concern. I hope she's OK."

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