This story is courtesy of our sister station WLFI in Lafayette, IN.
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Lafayette carnival was shut down Tuesday evening after several children were injured on a ride. Some of the kids were taken to the hospital. City engineers say the carnival had not been inspected yet and should not have been operating.
Parents like Danielle Valdez tell News 18 it was a scary situation.
“It was terrifying,” said Valdez. “I think I remember running after the little boy that fell off. I thought he was going to get run over. At the same time, I see my child falling off the motorcycle. It was terrifying.”
The Motorcycle Jump ride hasn’t been touched since Valdez and other parents grabbed their children just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“It was really scary,” said Erin Chaney, a witness whose daughter was on the ride but not injured. “The kids were screaming. It was really scary, just seeing the kids strapped in and the motorcycles falling over.”
Lafayette police say the carnival set up in the Market Square parking lot Monday.
Chaney says one boy’s leg was briefly pinned, one of four kids to be injured, including Valdez’s 6-year-old daughter. Valdez was taking her daughter to the hospital to check out a knot on her head.
“It just happened in a split second,” said Valdez. “A little boy fell off, and the bikes just started tumbling.”
City engineers tell News 18 that the carnival was supposed to be inspected Wednesday morning before it could open for business. They say the problem lies with bolts under the motorcycle, where just a centimeter or two difference between being properly and improperly tightened is all it took to allow the bikes to loosen and fly off when the ride was in motion.
“It sounds like there was a step overlooked in the setting up process for the rides, simply from my understanding, a bolt wasn’t tightened appropriately,” said LPD Ofc. Jeff Webb.
Police say the the carnival operator, Jessop Amusement, is cooperating with them. According to the company’s website, the Motorcycle Jump is a new ride for the midway this year.
Valdez says normally she loves the fair and enjoys surprising her children, but this time provided a far different type of surprise.
“These are fun things to take our kids to but this will make us think twice about doing it again,” said Valdez. “It’s just not worth that kind of fear.”
The carnival is shut down indefinitely until all the rides can be inspected.
Messages left with Jessop Amusement have not been returned.