Mishap on fair ride shakes up at least 9 in Tennessee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A mishap on a ride at a fair Saturday afternoon in Tennessee resulted in a number of people being transported to area hospitals or attended to by medical personnel at the scene.

Authorities and operators at the Delta Fair & Music Festival at Agricenter International in Memphis gave conflicting accounts of what happened.

Earle Farrell, public information officer for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, initially reported that 14 people were thrown from the ride and were transported to hospitals. Farrell said all those involved were in stable condition.

But Mark Lovell, Delta Fair president, said by phone that only nine people were involved and that none were injured even though some chose to be transported to the hospital.

"Everyone walked away," Lovell said. "There were no cuts, no bruises, no broken bones."

Lovell said the operator of the ride, the Moonraker, may have released the safety bar before the ride came to a complete stop.

"Some people were scared," Lovell said. "One man had had some type of surgery recently, and a mother was emotionally upset. But it's totally erroneous to say 14 people were 'thrown' from the ride."

Lovell said the ride was shut down after the incident, which occurred about 3 p.m., and he didn't know if or when it would reopen.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with the ride, but it would just be speculation to say when it will reopen," Lovell said.

Representatives of the Shelby County Code Enforcement office were checking out the ride.

The Moonraker is a gravity ride that spins while elevating to a 90-degree, or near 90-degree, angle to the ground.

The Delta Fair & Music Festival opened Friday and runs through Sept. 11.


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