Eight trapped on Pulaski County Fair ride

Mother, teen says the ride was stopped mid-air for almost 45 minutes
Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 08:36:51-04

PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Eight people were stuck on a ride at the Pulaski County Fair Thursday night.

The Alter Ego is described by Kissel Entertainment as a giant 120 foot tall ride that flips riders head over feet.

Somerset teen Makinzee Wesley was one of eight people stuck on the ride when it stopped mid-air.

"I was okay for the first half, then started thinking what could go wrong," she told LEX 18's Leigh Searcy.

The teen said they were trapped nearly 60 feet in the air for more than 45 minutes. Her mother, Jinny Brinson, watched helplessly from the ground.

"It was very scary because as a mom, you just think of all the scenarios that can go wrong, arms breaking, you know if it let go and started swinging," she said.

A spokesman from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which oversees amusement ride inspections, said that moisture was in the ride. Madison Kissel of Kissel Entertainment sent an email saying that the ride experienced a scenario where "the safety mechanism was triggered" and added that "the safety system reacted exactly as it was designed to do in the vent that a full cycle can't take place." She said that all passengers were safely escorted off the ride "in a matter of minutes."

Wesley and Brinson said that it was closer to an hour. Wesley's mother showed LEX 18's Leigh Searcy a picture of her loading the ride at 8 p.m. She had another photo at 8:46 p.m. of the riders still stuck in the air.

Workers eventually used ropes to manually pull each side down to safety. No one was hurt, but Wesley said she was glad to have her mother around to comfort her.

"We finally got down there and mom hugged me and we both cried," she said.

Wesley says that the workers were not communicating with those stuck in the air.

"They weren't talking to us, or telling us what was going on, so if mom hadn't been there I wouldn't have known what was going on," said Wesley.

The ride's owner said that the ride is inspected daily and has been cleared as safe for all passengers.

According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the ride passed inspection May 30 at a festival in Lexington. They say that amusement ride operators must apply and receive an annual license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to operate in the state. To get that license, an inspected must be made, so the department inspects rides at least once a year upon entry into the state.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture spokesperson says that they can conduct additional inspections throughout the year. For county fairs, Kentucky Statues KRS 247.234 and KAR 16:010-16:050 rule that all owners and operators of an amusement ride must annually submit a schedule to KDA at least 14 days in advance of operation so KDA knows where to conduct additional inspections. That schedule must include a list of rides and attractions.

Rides inspected by KDA should have an inspection sticker verifying they were inspected by KDA.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says that they are glad no one was injured during the particular occurrence and that the ride properly entered safe mode. They encourage anyone who believes there is an issue with an amusement ride now or in the future to contact the department at 502-573-0282.