Saturday, July 17, 2010

Calgary Stampede Ride Breaks Injuring 10 People...

CALGARY - Ten teens were hurt, with six of them taken to hospital, Friday evening when a ride on the Calgary Stampede midway broke and sent its passengers crashing to the ground before a throng of horrified fairgoers.

It was just before 9 p.m. and the midway was in full swing when something suddenly went wrong on the Scorpion ride, which spins pods of cars in a circle, lifting them up and down as it rotates.

Tanner Suttie, 16, said she heard a bang and then watched in shock as the mayhem unfolded before her eyes.

"I turned my head and the green cart flew right off, flew right off and slammed into the ground right by that big rock there. Three of the carts were upside down and all mangled," said the shaken girl.

"The other girl was by the tree," added Becca Lindberg, also 16.

"She was hyperventilating and sobbing really loud. One of the girls had to crawl right out of there. She was bleeding from the head."

Dustin Anderson-Sharples, 17, was riding in a car with a girl he didn't know when the pod of cars he was in jolted three times. Then "the gears exploded and the whole thing flew off."

His car landed right-side up.
Anderson-Sharples, who sustained hand and leg injuries and was sporting a golf-ball sized bump on his forehead, said he dragged the female rider from the car before another pod swung by and struck him.

Colton Reid rushed to help and said he saw two people who were unconscious, including a male who was bleeding from the head as he lay trapped between the disabled car and the ride's platform. Other people appeared to have broken bones.

Neurologist Paolo Federico heard a "screech and screaming" then rushed to help in the aftermath, even though his own son was on the ride when the incident happened.

Fourteen-year-old Tristan Alexson's 13-year-old brother and 12-year-old sister — who had travelled with their family from Saskatchewan — were on the ride when it broke apart and flew through the air.

Alexson said his brother was flung out of a car and struck in the head, leaving him unconscious on the ground. His sister was still in the car when it hit the midway and she was also unconscious.

"The thing just snapped right in half," said Alexson from Foothills Hospital Friday night, where his brother was initially treated before being transported to the Children's Hospital. Brother and sister, who also went to the Children's Hospital, are not believed to be seriously hurt.

Police quickly cordoned off a large area around the ride as a crowd gathered and at least three ambulances took away the injured.

Other rides on the midway continued running despite the pandemonium.

Emergency Medical Services said in total, 10 people — all teens — were hurt; four were treated on scene and the rest taken to hospital.

The worst injured was a 14-year-old boy who was initially in serious condition, but who was upgraded to stable. Two girls, both 13, were both reported as stable, with non-life-threatening injuries.

Stampede officials were quick to respond Friday night, with CEO Verne Kimball saying they'll work with provincial safety officials and the ride's operators — North American Midway Entertainment — to determine what happened.

"First and most importantly, we want to convey our thoughts and prayers to the people and families affected by tonight's incident," said Kimball from the grounds.

"We have been working closely over the past hour with the city's emergency response team to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our guests, employees and volunteers."

North American Midway Entertainment, which brought about 40 rides to the Calgary Stampede, bills itself as the world's largest travelling midway company.

The company's general manager was on hand at the grounds and said there'd been no problems with the Scorpion prior to the incident.

Tony Diaz said all the rides are thoroughly inspected daily by company supervisors and safety team prior to opening of Stampede.

Furthermore, all the rides were inspected by the province before the Stampede, he added.

"This is an unprecedented incident with this device," he said.

The ride has been with company about five years.

Diaz, who also expressed sympathies to the families, said he doesn't know what caused the accident.

"This is an unprecedented type of incident companywide. Safety is paramount to our company. It's the most important thing we do.

"North American Midway is currently working with the province of Alberta to investigate the incident."

On its website, the company said it provides entertainment to over 15 million fairgoers annually in 20 states and four Canadian provinces.

If you don;t know hot the ride looks..check out the video below.

Scorpion Ride

Story by: Calgary Herald


Vic said...

This is the most concise article I have read on this incident. Covered way better than the Mainstream Media