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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Authorities confident in ride inspections at Indiana State Fair

The deadly amusement ride accident that occurred at Ohio's state fair is putting additional scrutiny on the rides and their safety here at the Indiana State Fair.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The deadly amusement ride accident that occurred at Ohio's state fair is putting additional scrutiny on the rides and their safety here at the Indiana State Fair.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for inspecting rides, is getting a lot of questions as the State Fair prepares to open Friday.

Up and down the midway Thursday, workers were busy setting up and testing dozens of rides. Looking around, it was easy to see potential accidents waiting to happen.

"I see rides that need to be inspected for the safety of the people at the Indiana State Fair," said IDHS spokesperson John Erickson.

We saw amusement company workers setting up rides, looking for problems on their own and finding some. One worker was upset, finding a loose electrical box on the bottom of a ride.

We also found inspectors hired by North American Midway Entertainment checking ride seats, testing the rides, and safety components.

At the same time, more than a dozen state ride inspectors looked over, under, and inside each ride. Erickson said the state-mandated inspections haven't changed because of the fatal accident in Ohio.

"But there is the human component to people who come to the fair and to our inspectors. Are they going to look more closely? Probably, but they do through inspections anyway," he explained.

Structural, mechanical and electrical systems are all checked. So are the rides' annual permits, maintenance records and the training records of operators. Those operators are required to re-inspect their rides every day. Whenever rides are running, there's a state inspector on the grounds.

Despite those efforts, there can be problems.

"There are rides that have been inspected to code and they later something happens and it ends up breaking down in some way and that could end in injury," Erickson said.

So how safe are rides that children and adults expect entertain, thrill, and maybe scare them a little?

"I can tell you this," Erickson explained, "we are going to come to the state fair, my kids want to ride these rides, I am going to let them ride the rides. That is the confidence I have."

If you have a problem or a concern about a ride, Homeland Security suggests talking to the operator. If that doesn't work, they have a 24-hour ride safety hotline you can call at 1-888-203-5020.