Amusement ride inspections underway at the Big E - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Amusement ride inspections underway at the Big E


Just days before the opening of Eastern States Exposition, the focus on safety and inspections for rides is more important than ever.

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

The officials with the Big E said before anyone gets on their rides, each one will be inspected four times.

Massachusetts state officials observed the rides Wednesday and plan to do follow up checks each day during the event.

The Zumar Swing Ride at the Norwalk Oyster Festival suddenly stopped in mid-air, which set off a chain reaction with kids suspended in the air and crashing into each other and the ride, police said.

"It's disheartening of course, but we all try to learn when we have an experience like that and figure out what happened," said Big E Director of Sales Greg Chiecko.

Eyewitness News asked about the possibility of power loss for the rides at Big E, none of their rides actually rely on the public power system.

They come with their own completely independent generator system, and the Big E has had all the fairgrounds wired, so there aren't even any wires underground. Everything is underneath.

As for the swings, they run on hydraulics, and if they lost power, the swings would simply glide to a stop, Big E officials said. 

"I have great confidence in the people that inspect these devices," Tony Diaz, North American Midway, who runs the event, said. "I have great confidence in the people that operate these devices. And, I can tell you that my grandchildren ride these devices every day."

But despite all these assurances, some fair-goers said they aren't entirely convinced.

"I think people are probably thinking about it," said Barb Burns of Enfield. "They might not want to go on certain rides because of it."

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