Amusement ride owner: ‘We’re trying to figure it out’

Amusements of America owns just the one Fire Ball ride

Ohio State Fair amusement ride owner
Courtesy: WCMH

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The rides at the Ohio State Fair are owned and operated by Amusements of America. John Vivona, one of the owners of the company, told NBC4 News in Columbus that it’s been a difficult couple of days.

“We’re devastated,” he said. “We’re still investigating to see what happened. We don’t know what happened. We’re trying to figure it out.”

Vivona said his company owns just the one Fire Ball ride. He said he’s convinced the deadly accident Wednesday night was a mechanical failure and not a manpower or human or inspection issue.

“There’s state inspectors, we have a third party inspection, and everything that could possibly be done was done.”

MORE: Coverage of the Ohio State Fair ride accident

As some rides re-opened at the fair on Friday, four victims who were injured in the accident that shut them down remained hospitalized.

Three people are still receiving care at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical. Two are listed in serious condition, while one remains in stable.

At Grant Medical Center, an 18-year-old woman is in critical, but stable, condition.

Meanwhile, for those who knew the 18-year-old killed in the accident, the process of healing emotionally has begun. On Friday, the ROTC group Tyler Jarrell belonged to at Franklin Heights High School gathered to talk about how they were feeling. A guide counselor was on hand.

“Grieving is part of being a human being,” said Captain Tom Lennon, who is retired from the Navy and now leads the ROTC program at Franklin Heights.

He adds that every student grieves differently and that the school is offering professional support to any student impacted by Jarrell’s death.

Julie Marshall, of Dayton, was among the first to ride the Sky Glider when it reopened.

“This and the big slide, that’s about it,” she said. “We won’t go on any more that spin or mechanical like that. I don’t know why. We think this one’s safe.”


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