News

Mechanical Malfunction Blamed For Norwalk Carnival Ride Accident

Amusement Company Owner Says He's Glad Injuries Weren't Life-Threatening

NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Investigators blamed a mechanical problem Monday for an accident that caused a carnival ride to come to a halt in Norwalk, Conn., leaving 18 people – most of them children – injured.

As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, the Zumur swing ride was packed away for the season Monday at the Stewart Amusement storage yard near Trumbull, Conn.

The Zumur, a rotational swing ride first built 30 years ago, malfunctioned Sunday at the Norwalk Oyster Festival. It suddenly stopped turning while riders were still in midair.

Several children slammed into the ride itself and other children on the ride, according to Norwalk police Chief Tom Kulhawik. While Kulhawik initially said some of the children fell 10 to 15 feet to the ground, police later said it did not appear that anyone had been ejected or fallen.

“I heard a loud thunder or banging type noise. Everything just stopped,” said witness Sam Razzaia. “When it stopped, the swings went all different directions, children on it and they were bouncing off the steel frames.”

Camilla Roldan, 6, was among the injured. She spent five hours at a hospital emergency room for a leg injury.

“It’s a hard time when I see her in this situation,” said her father, Edison Roldan.

Thirteen riders – 12 of them children – were treated at local hospitals for bruises, cuts, and at least one broken bone. Five more refused hospital treatment.

All the injured children were transported to hospitals in Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport, the station reported. One hospital reported three in stable condition and another reported three were being evaluated.

“I happen to be a trauma surgeon in town, so I assessed the area and assessed all the kids at the time, and no one seemed greatly injured.” Said Dr. Neil Floch. “All the kids were moving their extremities and everything.”

State investigators said the Zumur passed inspection when it was set up on Friday. They were blamin a mechanical malfunction in the hydraulic lift system for the accident.

Amusement company owner Richard Stewart told CBS 2’s Aiello he was thankful the injuries were not life-threatening. He said he wanted a manufacturer’s representative to come to Connecticut to assess the ride.

Stewart Amusement was already setting up for its next carnival as of Monday. The next carnival is this weekend at a church in Fairfield, Conn.

The September Fest at Assumption Church has used the company for years. A parish official told Aiello off camera that the church is worried about what happened Sunday in Norwalk, but confident that inspectors will do a thorough job checking safety before the carnival opens Friday night.

State inspectors check every carnival ride each time it is set up in a new location. Stewart Amusement said its operators conduct additional safety checks every day.

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