YO-YO Amusement Rides Recalled After California Fair Accident Injures 23Oct 9, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP accidents in recent years, one of which injured 23 people in California.
On May 16, The Yo-Yo swing ride at the Calaveras County Fair abruptly dropped its arms while it was still rotating, dragging riders and their chairs across the ground. No one was killed, but several riders were hospitalized. Most of the injuries involved scraped knees and back strains.
A similar accident in March 2006 at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas injured nine people.
Harry Mason, the owner of Brass Ring Amusements, the company that owned and operated the Yo-Yo ride at the Calaveras County fair, told Recordnet.com that he was outraged that the manufacturer of the YO-YO ride, Chance Rides, knew about the Texas failure and did not inform him. Instead, Mason said Chance Rides blamed the May accident on the operators of the ride.
But now it turns out that a rotating bearing mechanism that amusement ride operators call "the spider" failed and detached from a central hydraulic piston rod, causing the accident.
Under the recall announced by the CPSC, owners of 85 Yo-Yo rides in use nationwide will add a metal plate at the top of the central hydraulic rod. That plate will make it much less likely that the bearing mechanism that connects to the ride's arms could slide off the rod, even if the bearing mechanism failed. Chance Rides has sent a kit to all owners of the rides and instructed them to install the fix by Dec. 4.
The CPSC said it is working with state regulators and insurance providers to ensure that the safety inspections and modifications are conducted. While the CPSC has jurisdiction over mobile amusement rides and conducts incident investigations, states and local communities are responsible for inspections and oversight of rides such as the YO-YO.
Meanwhile, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is still conducting its investigation into the Calaveras County Fair YO-YO ride accident. Such investigations typically take six months or longer. Once the investigation is done, state officials will come out with a list of actions to prevent future accidents.