More than one dozen people were injured at the Norwalk Oyster Festival yesterday when an internal mechanism failure caused a ride to stop, but children in swings kept going. Of the 18 hurt, 12 were children.
Eighteen people, mostly children, were injured after an amusement ride malfunctioned at the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, Conn., on Sunday, according to police, and state police are trying to determine how it happened.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m. a "swing ride" in the Kids Cove section at Veteran's Memorial Park on Seaview Avenue lost power.
Parents watched helplessly as the ride came to quick stop, causing some children on the ride to crash into each other, authorities said.
“There were 23 people aboard that ride at the time of the accident, 13 of them were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, everything from contusions to lacerations,” Lt. Paul Vance, of Connecticut state police, said.
Of the 13, 12 were children and the victims were taken to Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport hospitals.
Police said all but one patient had been released by Sunday evening. An 8-year-old boy remained Norwalk Hospital overnight to be treated for a leg injury, but he was released on Monday.
"People were screaming. Kids were screaming and crying, and the frantic parents were knocking the barriers over to get to their children," Sam Razzaia, a witness, said.
"The children that were on the swings, they were banging off the frames. And some were falling off. I just couldn't believe I was witnessing this," Razzaia added.
"It was a little traumatic. A scary experience," said April Potasz.
Potasz was working a concession next to the ride when the horrific scene unfolded and rushed over to help.
"I got a little boy off the swing, and he had a deep contusion on his leg. And his bone was sort of hanging out," said Potasz.
Hours after the incident, investigators continued to look over the ride, which has since been taken down.
While it remained shut down, the other rides in the park resumed at about 4:30 p.m. after the State Police Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit gave the OK.
Officials said all the rides were re-inspected before they resumed, but those who witnessed the frightening ordeal doubt they'll feel safe anytime soon.
In a statement, the event's organizers, the Norwalk Seaport Association, said:
"Our concerns remain for the well-being of those involved and their families. We are continuing to cooperate with the authorities."
Richard Stewart, owner of Stewart Amusements of Trumbull, said the swing ride is licensed by the state and was inspected on Friday. Stewart said he is cooperating with officials.
The company released the following statement:
Preliminary investigation is that the Zumur swing ride suffered a mechanical malfunction at the Norwalk Oyster Festival. Our first and only concern is for the well-being of those involved and their families. We are continuing to cooperate with authorities as they investigate into the root cause of the accident.
His company's website says it has provided rides and other attractions since 1983 at events in Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut and neighboring Westchester and Putnam counties in New York.
State police confirmed the ride passed all safety requirements before the weekend festival.