A 19-year-old woman who was flung from a swinging ride that broke apart at the Ohio State Fair was given the heartbreaking news Thursday that her boyfriend was killed in the tragedy.
“She kept asking for her boyfriend,” Clarrisa Williams said about her daughter, Keziah Lewis, who remained hospitalized, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
“I had to tell her he was the one who was deceased,” she said about Tyler Jarrell, 18, of Columbus, who had recently joined the US Marines.
Lewis and six other people were injured when a row of seats snapped off the Fire Ball on Wednesday evening during the fair’s opening day.
Jarrell was thrown high in the air and was killed when he landed about 50 feet from the ride, officials said.
Williams, 51, said her daughter, a creative writing and journalism student at the University of Cincinnati, suffered pelvis, ankle and rib injuries but remembers nothing from the accident. She has undergone two surgeries and faces another one Friday.
The mom said she has worried about safety at the fair ever since a small dragon ride that her daughter rode when she was 4 years old jumped the tracks.
“After that, I was a little leery,” Williams told the paper. But Lewis and her family continued going to the fair. “We went on the rides, didn’t have any problems,” Williams said.
The other people injured are Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, and Russell Franks, 42, Jennifer Lambert, 18, and Abdihakim Hussein, 19, all of Columbus, officials said.
The family of a 14-year-old boy who also was injured requested that his name be withheld.
Three of the victims remained hospitalized in critical condition and one in serious condition. Two were released Thursday morning.
The fair opened Thursday but its amusement rides remained closed as an investigation is conducted on the Fire Ball, which swings like a pendulum while spinning at 13 revolutions per minute.
Horrifying video captured by a bystander captured the moment a section of the ride holding four riders broke off. Screams are heard as the passengers are thrown to the ground.
“Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident,” fair officials said in a Thursday post on Twitter. “We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe.”
Records show that inspections were up to date and a state permit had just been issued for the ride.
Ohio Department of Agriculture records provided to The Associated Press show passing marks on inspections of about three dozen items including cracks, brakes, proper assembly and installation.
Amusements of America, the company that provides rides to the fair, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The ride’s Dutch manufacturer, KMG, said the one at the Ohio State Fair was built in 1998. Forty-three of the rides are in use in the US and elsewhere. None has been involved in a serious malfunction before, the company said.
Gov. John Kasich, who planned to tour the fair Thursday, said after the accident: “Of course we want to get to the bottom of this. Make no mistake about it, it’s a very, very sad night for all of us.”
With Post wires