18 injured after ride malfunctions in Norwalk - WFSB 3 Connecticut

18 injured after ride malfunctions in Norwalk


Police said 18 people, including a dozen children, were injured when a popular amusement ride malfunctioned at the Norwalk Oyster Festival on Sunday.

On Monday, Eyewitness News spoke with those responsible for the rides and got their explanation.

"Everything just stopped," witness Same Razzaia said. "But of course when it stops the swings go in all different directions with children on it and they were bouncing off the steel frames."

Those who saw the Zumar Swing Ride suddenly stop in mid-air said things turned chaotic. According to witnesses, the swing stopped completely, which set off a chain reaction with kids suspended in the air and crashing into each other and the ride.

"Some of the kids were screaming, people just went out of their minds," Razzaia said.

Norwalk police said 18 people were hurt when the ride stopped and sent the riders, most of them children, crashing into each other.

Officials said 13 riders were brought to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

"I happen to be a trauma surgeon in town," said Dr. Neil Floch, who was at the Oyster Festival when the incident occurred. "I assessed the area and assessed all the kids at the time and no one seemed gravely injured. All the kids were moving their extremities and everything."

All except an 8-year-old boy were treated and released from area hospitals Sunday, police said. The 8-year-old boy, who was in stable condition as late as Monday, was released from Norwalk Hospital Monday afternoon.

The ride is owned by Stewart Amusement out of Trumbull, and has been in business for nearly 30 years. They supply rides for carnivals and festivals in southern Connecticut and New York state.

Stewart Amusement owner, Richard Bruce Stewart, said the ride never lost power and it just stopped suddenly.

"This is a problem that would not have been picked up with an inspection, it's an internal problem in the drive system," Stewart said. "We're waiting for the manufacturer to take it apart and find out what the problem was."

Connecticut State Police as well as local authorities continue to look into what caused the ride to malfunction.

Stewart said the ride passed the daily inspection from the ride operators and a routine state police inspection before the fair started.

A day later, much of the festival was broken down. The swing in question was gone in a matter of hours after the incident.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News reached out to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and they said that since 2000, there haven't been any problems with Stewart Amusement. However, they only cover worker safety and not public safety issues.

WFSB learned that rides from Stewart Amusement are making a stop at the Assumption Church in Fairfield this weekend, and will also make stops in Milford, Darien and Guilford this fall. However, at this point the company says "Zumur" most likely won't be part of the fun.

Nationwide Children's Hospital released a study earlier this year that shows more than 4,000 children are injured on ride accidents each year.

So far, no charges are expected to be filed against Stewart Amusement.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.