Ride operator had other incident before Ferris wheel spill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The organizers of the eastern Tennessee fair where three girls fell from a Ferris wheel kept their ride operator despite an incident across the state line that injured five and caused the owners’ son to be jailed.

Private inspectors believe a mechanical failure likely caused the gondola to flip over Monday, sending three girls plummeting 30 to 45 feet to the ground.

The ride was operated by a Georgia-based company called Family Attractions Amusement, which was involved in another high-profile carnival accident three years ago.

At the North Carolina State Fair in October 2013, five people were injured when an Italian-made ride called the Vortex unexpectedly restarted as they were trying to get off the ride, flinging them through the air and down to the steel deck below. Instigators determined that a safety mechanism had been disabled by ride operators.

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