More information has been revealed about the series of accidents that occurred at this year’s North Carolina State Fair and it’s even worse than what was initially reported. Though early stories mentioned that a worker was injured only a few days after five riders were hurt on a Vortex ride, the details of just how serious that accident was have only recently been reported. According to the man’s family the worker is still fighting for his life.
The second accident at the North Carolina State Fair occurred late last month as after the fair had been closed to the public and was in the early stages of being broken down. One of the workers, Anesto Newell, was breaking down the other Vortex ride on the fairgrounds when witnesses reported hearing a loud pop followed by a sickening crash.
The accident occurred several hours into the breaking down process, sometime around 3:30 a.m. Workers who heard the noise say they ran in the Vortex’s direction and when they arrived discovered Anesto on the ground with an entire row of four seats on top of him. The force of the seats falling from the ride crushed Anesto, with his legs bend behind his head.
The worker was then rushed to nearby WakeMed for emergency treatment. Family members have since said that he has undergone multiple surgeries and has suffered a broken back, broken limbs, a shattered pelvis as well as other serious internal injuries.
Investigators say they intend to get to the bottom of the terrible accident and are eager to understand how a ride could have come apart and injured a worker. Family members of Anesto who were also hired as contract workers to tear down the equipment say one problem may have been the general lack of training that workers received. They say that workers were not given proper safety equipment or detailed training for how to safely break down the rides.
If it’s true that speed was given a priority over safety, then the North Carolina State Fair, as well as the company hired to handle the breakdown of the rides, Powers Great American Midways, face serious liability for the injuries suffered by Anesto. The case of Anesto highlights the serious risks that lurk beneath the surface of many amusement parks, water parks and state fairs. Though they are intended to be a good time for all, when companies cut corners on safety, things can go from good to bad fast.
Here's a Google Map showing the location of the Vortex amusement ride accident: