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Six UK theme park rides closed after fatal accident at US fair

Five were taken out of use by the Health and Safety Executive and the sixth was closed by its operator.

Six UK theme park rides have been closed following an incident on a similar ride in the US in which a teenager died.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said five rides were re-inspected and temporarily taken out of use after the incident at Ohio State Fair on July 26.

A sixth ride at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire was immediately taken out of use by the operator independently of the HSE.

Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old high school student, died when a swinging and spinning ride called the Fire Ball broke apart. Seven other people were injured, some critically.

Three of the closed rides are at Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Suffolk, Coney Beach Fair in Porthcawl, South Wales, and Brean Theme Park in Somerset, the HSE said.

A fourth is operated by Ryan Crow Amusements at funfairs in the North East, and a ride owned by a Joseph Manning in Hertfordshire has also been served with a prohibition enforcement notice.

Lightwater Valley said its Eagle’s Claw ride was not running, telling visitors: “Due to circumstances beyond our control this ride is currently closed, apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The HSE said it was aware of the “tragic accident” involving the KMG Afterburner, which was themed as Fire Ball in Columbus, Ohio.

A spokeswoman said: “There are six machines of this version operating in the UK which were all thoroughly inspected within the last 12 months in line with agreed procedures.

“There is no verified information regarding the immediate cause of the US accident. Following the incident, HSE initiated a re-inspection of these machines.

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Tyler Jarrell died and seven others were injured when the Fire Ball ride broke apart (Jay LaPrete/AP)

“As a result, on Friday 28 July an enforcement notice was served on five of the machines, which are now to be taken out of use until the notices have been complied with.

“The sixth, at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire, was immediately taken out of use following the incident in Ohio.

“This was a decision taken independently by the operator. Lightwater Valley has agreed to keep this machine out of use until the other five notices have been complied with.”

The HSE said it understood a letter had been sent to operators of all similar machines operating in the UK and that some owners may have closed rides “as a precautionary measure”.

It added: “HSE will ensure operators are kept abreast of information as it arrives and will take such action as is necessary to ensure the rides are inspected and tested as necessary to ensure safety.”

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