PNE reopens ride after inspections prompted by U.S. death
Riders are being allowed back on The Beast, a Playland ride that was shut down for extra inspections this week in the wake of a deadly fair accident south of the border.
The ride was closed Thursday out of an abundance of caution following an incident in Columbus, Ohio that left one dead and several others injured. A swinging and spinning ride called the Fire Ball broke apart on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair, sending riders plummeting to the ground.
The Beast is a similar ride made by the same Dutch manufacturer, KMG, so the PNE decided to close the ride for the day and conduct additional inspections.
A PNE spokesperson noted there's a difference between permanent attractions like the Playland ride and travelling fair attractions like Fire Ball.
The Beast, which spins chairs of people in a circle while simultaneously swinging them on a giant pendulum, is a permanent feature at Playland, shipped directly to the park and assembled on site with ride technicians and the manufacturer.
The park said its rides are inspected twice daily by technicians, and annually by the B.C. Safety Authority. There are also inspections twice a year by a third-party contractor.
Still, the PNE shut down the ride Thursday to be safe, and conducted "rigorous supplementary inspections."
Following the inspections, staff decided to reopen the ride on Friday.
The incident in Ohio prompted changes in other Canadian cities as well. Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition, an annual fair similar to the PNE, said the Fire Ball would not be featuring the ride next month, and Edmonton's K-Days fair shut down its Fire Ball.
North American Midway Entertainment, a company that provides rides to various fairs in the U.S. and Canada, including K-Days and the CNE, said it would not be operating Fire Ball rides "until further notice from the manufacturer for precautionary safety measures."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Andrew Weichel and Shannon Paterson