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State Fire Marshal: Ferris Wheel involved in weekend mishap must be re-inspected

11 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Monday, May 29 2023 May 29, 2023 May 29, 2023 2:55 PM May 29, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

GONZALES - The Ferris Wheel involved in a Friday night incident at the Ascension Parish Jambalaya Festival must undergo "an extensive, third-party inspection" before it is put into use at another event.

The attraction experienced a malfunction that festival officials described as a deflated propulsion tire, but that witnesses characterized as something more serious.

Their accounts, along with video of the Ferris Wheel, suggest that part of the ride shifted out of position, with at least one spot on the frame of the wheel appearing to have separated. Video also shows workers scrambling to get passengers off the ride as the wheel rotated without stopping.

One rider told WBRZ she jumped off with the wheel in motion. Others said they feared for their safety, as the wheel lurched and made unusual sounds.

WATCH: Riders recount harrowing experience on Ferris Wheel

No serious injuries were reported, and Louisiana law only requires that the state fire marshal be notified in matters that involve injury or death.

But that office -- which is responsible for carnival ride inspections -- tells WBRZ that it did "proactively... inspect after hearing about the incident" and has ordered the additional third-party review of the Ferris Wheel. Results of that inspection must be submitted to the State Fire Marshal's Office before the ride is approved for future use.

The Ferris Wheel rotates via a propulsion system that uses pairs of tires to power the movement. Under normal conditions, the tires form a "sandwich" with the track between them.

The ride is owned and operated by St. Tammany Parish-based Mitchell Brothers and Sons Amusements.

The company has provided rides to hundreds of events in its decades-long history. It recently settled a case, however, when a woman sued after falling from a ride at the 2016 Greater Baton Rouge State Fair. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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