A young man who filmed a fatal carnival ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair said he heard bystanders screaming for the operator to slow the ride down just before it broke down.
Julian Bellinger was recording footage of the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair on July 26 shortly before the ride malfunctioned, killing one attendee and injuring seven others, Daily Mail reported. He appeared on "Good Morning America" to recount the horrific moment.
"We were just recording each other on Snapchat and we had deleted the video because we heard like commotion on the ride and there was people on the ride like: 'Slow it down, it's too fast,' and all this," Bellinger told "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts. "So people on the ground beside me and in front of me in line ... they all were like: 'Whoa, whoa, slow down.'"
"I heard people in front of me in line and then after the fact I talked to them and they were like: 'Yeah, people on the ride just couldn't take it anymore because I guess they had sped it up,'" Bellinger continued.
Bellinger said the operator then pressed the emergency brake. He added that he turned his head away when he started seeing riders get thrown from their seats, and that people were running away and crying.
An 18-year-old man died after he fell off of the ride. Three other carnival-goers remain in critical condition, while another four are in stable condition. The youngest victim was 13 years old, and the oldest was 41, according to the Columbus Division of Fire.
Britney Neal and her little sister Kylee also witnessed the tragic accident. They appeared on "Today" to share their account of what happened at the Ohio State Fair.
"Well, the ride was going normal, then all of a sudden you see people flying out and then the guy hit the emergency stop button which then made the seat fly off and other people flew off as well," Britney recalled. "The Fire Ball was working normally. Then it swung to the left and it looked like someone's chair was kind of falling out. Then the guy pushed the emergency stop switch, and then it swings to the right and the whole row broke off and they went flying."
The accident occurred on the fair's opening night.
"I am terribly saddened by this accident, by the loss of life and that people were injured enjoying Ohio’s fair," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those grieving and injured. I have ordered a full investigation into this incident and have ordered that all fair rides be shut down until additional safety inspections can be completed."
The Ohio State Fair released the following statement the day after the accident:
Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident. We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe. Gates will open at 9 am and other activities will resume as scheduled.
Ohio Director of Agriculture David Daniels said ride inspectors did not notice anything out of the ordinary when they conducted their inspections of the ride, the Tampa Bay Times reported. He added that all the rides at the fair were checked several times when they were being set up.
"We started out today with 11 rides that did not open because the inspection work was not done on them," Daniels told the Tampa Bay Times.