Festival rides at the Farmers’ Days fair in Stony Plain had an early curtain call after two rides injured people Friday afternoon.
The festival, which was slated to run through Sunday, carried on with its rodeo, market and live events but Midway Rides were shut down after the incident.
Brianne Garskey and Kaleb Starnes were getting on a ride called the hurricane when they were told to switch seats to balance out the weight. The pair said the ride suddenly started as people were still getting on, hitting them.
“It started up and then it hit both of us down onto the grate,” Starnes explained. “Another cart ran us over and then we finally kind of got thrown out.
“We both kind of just thought, ‘Let’s get the other one out of here,’ so we both went to kind of push each other off of the grating platform we got stuck on and we ended pulling each other off the ride together.”
Fire crews attended the scene and Garskey was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. She received a dozen stitches for a cut on her leg, and also has road rash on her arm and face.
Alberta Health Services said a child was taken to hospital earlier in the day, as well. Wild Rose Shows, which operates the Midway, says it was from an incident involving a ride called the Construction Zone.
The town of Stony Plain said it’s aware of the incidents, and on Saturday, posted its regrets to announce the rides would not be available for the rest of Farmers’ Days.
“The town requested an inspection of Midway prior to Midway’s opening on Saturday morning, resulting in the closure of Midways Rides for the remainder of the weekend due to safety concerns,” the statement said.
Wild Rose Shows says it won’t start operating again until the Alberta Elevating Devices and Amusement Rides Safety Association goes over the entire Midway.
“Two incidents in this day and age is not acceptable,” said Wild Rose owner Mike Kryzanowski. “Due to public safety, we are better off just to close, have a full reinspection and start over again.”
While Garskey and Starnes are grateful things weren’t worse, they agree that an inspection of the rides is needed.
“It could have gone a hell of a lot worse. It could have been someone a lot weaker than the two of us or it could have gone much worse,” Garskey said.
The amusement rides were supposed to be at Devon Days in Devon, Alta., June 9-11, however the town is calling for a complete recertification for Wild Rose and Midway rides from the provincial governing body.
“This will need to be in place before the Town of Devon considers opening the rides,” reads a statement from the town, which also confirmed “the two rides that experienced issues in Stony Plain have been removed from service by the operator.”
The AEDARSA said it’s the responsibility of the ride owners to meet the requirements under the Safety Codes Act, which is standard procedure in Alberta. A safety codes officer is also required to inspect the first setup of each ride every year the company has an operating permit for the rides.
The incidents reported from Stony Plain are currently under investigation, AEDARSA said.
“One ride involved will not operate again until a follow-up review by the professional engineer who submitted and provided acknowledgment of compliance on the application for permit of operation in Alberta,” AEDARSA said. It is also working with Wildrose to address issues of concern.
— With files