Inspections department: Missing fasteners caused ride incident

A spectator looks over a seat that fell in July from the Super Shot ride at the Frederick County Fair. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Frederick County Inspections Department has determined why a passenger on a ride at the Frederick County Fair fell to the ground in July.

John Trenary, building official at the department, wrote an executive summary of the investigation into an incident in Frederick County involving a Super Shot ride. A 47-year-old female passenger sustained multiple injuries and was taken to Winchester Medical Center when her seat detached from the ride’s main frame on July 25 and fell around 40 feet, according to a news release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The Super Shot is a ride manufactured by A.R.M. Inc., which lifts passengers into the air and then drops them. Inners Shows provided its Super Shot ride at the Frederick County Fair. Edward Inners, the company owner, received a Cease of Operations letter on the day following the incident. A Frederick County news release dated July 28 stated that the owner complied with the letter.

A.R.M. published an Aug. 3 news release stating that “information from post accident inspectors who have viewed the subject ride” showed that improper assembly caused the incident. The company then went on to state that with proper assembly and inspection, the Super Shot is a safe ride.

Trenary’s executive summary states that inspections on the ride were conducted by a certified inspector from the county as per the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s regulations. He stated that the inspector pulled on the seat harnesses and found that they didn’t move.

“The inspector felt the seats were secure and not capable of being removed from the tower,” he wrote.

Trenary concluded his summary by stating that the ride ran for an hour to an hour and a half before the incident but it wasn’t clear whether someone had previously ridden in the seat that detached. The incident occurred because “manufacturer’s specified fasteners (2 – ½ inch x 3 ½ inch grade 5 bolts, nuts, washers, and clips) were not in place at the time of the incident,” he wrote.

Requests for further detail about the report were met with an email response from Karen Vacchio, public information and Freedom of Information Act officer for Frederick County. She wrote that “we consider this a legal matter and will not be making staff available to answer questions.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com.