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Vancouver's Playland ride closed for inspection after similar ride in Ohio kills one

Stephanie Ip

Riders on The Beast, a new ride at the PNE. (Brian Giebelhaus/Pacific National Exhibition/file photo)

Riders on The Beast, a new ride at the PNE. (Brian Giebelhaus/Pacific National Exhibition/file photo)

A Playland ride was shut down Thursday as a precaution after an accident on a similar ride at a U.S. state fair killed one and left several others in critical condition on Wednesday evening.

Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old Columbus, Ohio, resident, was declared dead Wednesday at the Ohio State Fair after his bench seat on board an amusement ride fell and dropped him and others several metres to the ground below. Seven others were injured and sent to hospital.

The ride is called the Fireball and was operated by the Amusements of America and manufactured by KMG, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A similar ride called The Beast, also manufactured by KMG, was purchased three years ago for Vancouver’s Playland. The ride consists of a circular set of bench seats that spin while being swung from side to side.

In a statement released Thursday, Playland spokeswoman Laura Ballance said organizers would “voluntarily” close The Beast and conduct additional inspections.

“The regulations overseeing ride operations in British Columbia are some of the most progressive in the world,” said Ballance, noting all Playland rides are inspected by the B.C. Safety Authority before the season’s start. Each ride is also inspected daily by ride technicians and operations staffers.

“The safety of our guests is our No. 1 priority, so we have made the decision to do supplemental inspections of The Beast today.”

The Beast was purchased from Dutch manufacturer KMG and assembled in Vancouver. It undergoes twice-daily inspections and two annual inspections by a third-party industry contractor.

Ballance noted that The Beast ride at Playland is a permanently fixed model, different from travelling models that are commonly used for local fairs and require continual assembly and disassembly.