PUYALLUP, Wash. - April 21, 2009 - After a thorough investigation by governmental and independent private investigators specializing in amusement rides, the contributing factor for the Lolli Swing incident at the Spring Fair in Puyallup on April 17, 2009 was determined to be deteriorating soil conditions. This is the first case of a soil-related incident with this or any ride since Funtastic Rides, Inc.'s inception in the early 1950s. The Fair has no record of such an occurrence in its 109 years.
A total of 16 riders were on the Lolli Swing at the time of the incident, including two adults and 14 children. While six were transported to area hospitals for evaluation, all were released that same day with minor injuries.
The unseasonably wet winter, coupled with strong rain cells that moved through Puyallup from 12:58 to 1:53 p.m., and 2:23 to 3:28 p.m. creating an unusual situation of too much moisture in too short of a time. The blocking installed for the ride exceeded the requirements, but still was not adequate for the highly unusual rainfall that added to an already drenched ground.
The weight of the Lolli Swing ride rests on the ground with support legs located at the four corners of the ride, as well as being supported with the trailer wheels, which were visible after the ride tilted on its front side.
Washington State Certified Ride Inspector John Hinde, J.P. Hinde Enterprises, Inc. of Port St. Lucie, Florida has presented the findings to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. Investigators from the United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission conducted a study on Sunday, in addition to investigations by several other governmental and municipal entities. It was concluded that both the ride and the person operating the ride performed correctly.
Components of the ride were disassembled, inspected and tested to obtain hard information in determining the cause of this incident. Operational systems were tested to determine that there were no ride system or structural failures. They did not find any manufacturer defects that would have caused the incident, and concluded that the ride did not malfunction.
Immediately after the incident Puyallup Police representatives interviewed the two ride operators, and found no signs of impairment. They voluntarily tested for drugs and alcohol, and they were clear of any substance in their systems. The lead operator has operated that ride for several years.
Representatives from the Italian ride manufacturer have arrived, and are currently reviewing the findings and conducting their own investigation. Funtastic Rides, Inc. anticipates working with the manufacturer on developing ride base outriggers in addition to the current support legs, in order to widen the ride base support load footprint.
While this is a very isolated incident, Funtastic Rides, Inc. will share the information and findings from this investigation with amusement ride inspectors, operators, and amusement industry trade organizations. The investigation, reports and findings will also continue.
The Spring Fair in Puyallup first started in 1990. The Puyallup Fair is slated for Sept. 11-27, 2009. For further information, visit http://www.thefair.com/ or call the 24-hour hotline at (253) 841-5045.