A CLOSER LOOK: Ride that injured child and 2 others at Benton County Fair passed inspection


Three people were injured when the Jungle Twist ride went off the rails at the fair.

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — A Benton County Fair ride that went off the rails, injuring three people, including a child, passed inspections prior to the fair.

The Jungle Twist ride went off the rails Saturday. The ride was immediately shut down immediately after the accident.

Two of the three people injured were transported by ambulance. The condition of each person is currently unknown, according to a Benton County Fire Department official.

The accident is being investigated by a senior investigator with the Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing, according to Denise Oxley, Division of Labor general counsel.

Pride Amusements, based in Joplin, Mo., provided the rides featured at the Benton County Fair.

“We’ve never had an incident like this on our midway before. Our number one priority is the safety of our customers,” said James Burlingame, owner and manager of Pride Amusements.

Burlingame said Jungle Twist and all the rides at the fair were inspected by a Department of Labor official and a Haas & Wilkerson Insurance agent. He also said that Pride Amusements personnel inspect the rides each day before the fair opens.

A Department of Labor inspection report provided by Oxley states that Pride Amusements had 20 rides at the fair and that there were “no apparent violations.”

“We will look at each ride depending on the ride. We will look at the manufacturer’s specifications, the mechanical parts of the ride, the operations of the ride. We make sure the tubs are all okay. We check the security apparatus to make sure that they’re all in working order. We look at the fencing to make sure the public is safe. We’re looking at maintenance records, training records,” Oxley said. “There are a whole host of things we typically look at.”

If an Arkansas labor inspector noted any issues with the ride at a previous venue it would have been documented, Oxley said.

Pride Amusements’ rides were previously at two fairs in Kansas.

Pride Amusements has had Jungle Twist for about three weeks and during that time there were no previous issues, according to Burlingame.

Jungle Twist was made by Wisdom Rides out of Merino, Colo. However, Jungle Twist was bought used from another party, according to Burlingame.

Burlingame said he does not know of Jungle Twist having any prior issues with its previous owner.

“You want to find out if there was an accident or any mechanical failures at all. So we try to find out anything we can,” Burlingame said.

The Department of Labor, insurance companies and the manufacturer were all notified after the accident, according to Burlingame.

Victor Wisdom, the owner of Wisdom Rides, said he had not yet heard of the accident.

Wisdom said rides are not sent back to his company unless the owner wants an inspection done or the ride repaired.

Jungle Twist will be sent back to Wisdom Rides, Burlingame said.

“It more than likely will not be back up,” Burlingame said. “It for sure will not be up anytime soon until the investigation is done and the manufacturer has made the proper repairs.”

Although Jungle Twist was bought used, most of Pride Amusements’ rides are bought directly from the manufacturer, according to Burlingame.

Burlingame said he’s always particular when choosing the rides he purchases, and that it’s currently hard to say if he will continue to purchase previously used rides or purchase exclusively from the manufacturer.

The Benton County Fair ended Saturday.

Burlingame said he could not reveal which fair his rides would be at next, but said he was not providing rides to the Washington County Fair, which runs from Aug. 20-24.

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