Two Carolina Fair Accident Injure 10 People

Ten people suffered injuries in separate accidents at the South Carolina (SC) State Fair and the Havelock Chili Festival in North Carolina (NC) during the second week of October 2011. Neither incident has been fully explained, but both of the accidents that caused injuries ranging from cuts and broken bones -- and possibly a fractured skull -- appear to have been preventable.

In Columbia, SC on October 12, a metal brace broke loose from a carnival ride called the Banzai and struck at least six people. The Post and Courier reported that one of the fairgoers who needed treatment for minor cuts was just 6 years old. One of the older victims suffered a bruised shoulder, and investigators from the state's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation are investigating why a ride that been inspected and deemed safe earlier in the year experienced such a serious mechanical failure.

Here's a video of the Banzai in action that makes it easy to imagine the force and speed at which the metal part flew in the state fair crowd:

Three days after the accident in South Carolina, four attendees at the 30th Annual Havelock Chili Festival in central eastern North Carolina had to be transported to the hospital after being struck by rocks, tents, tables, chairs and other flying debris kicked up by the rotors of a Marine on display from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Havelock Chili Festival Helicopter AccidentAn eyewitness told WCTI -TV 12, "There was a lady that had a broken leg and she got hurt really really bad. There was one guy hit by a table on his face, and then a girl, [who] was around 15 or 16, and she hurt and bleeding too. And then, there was another girl, [who] was around 9 or 8, and they were right there on it and she was bleeding from her head."

Such accidents at carnivals, fairs and amusement parks are typically rare, but the incidents in South Carolina and North Carolina illustrate that dangers always exist when machines are set up for temporary use or operated in unusual locations. Fair and festival goers cannot usually anticipate risks to their safety, so the responsibility for ensuring that all rides, displays, walkways and other attractions are safely constructed, thoroughly inspected and properly maintained and operated falls to the companies that run the fairs, festivals and parks.

For this reason, I am currently helping a man who was playing with a band at an outdoor concert at the Virginia Beach, VA, Oceanfront when he was hurt by lighting equipment that crashed into him after it was blown over by a gust of wind. Similar to the tragedy at the 2011 Indiana State Fair that left several Sugarland concertgoers dead and dozens injured, the sponsor of the show in Virginia Beach did not call off the concert in the name of safety even though people had told him that a dangerous storm was approaching. The people in charge need to put safety ahead of profits in these entertainment industry cases to avoid accidents, insurance claims and lawsuits.

As a Carolina personal injury attorney, I am glad to know no one lost a life in the accidents at the NC and SC fests, and I extend my wishes for speedy recoveries for all the victims.

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