Thrill ride appears to malfunction during Michigan festival

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A thrill ride at a popular festival in northern Michigan was dismantled and an investigation started after the machine appeared to tip and pitch with riders aboard.

Bystanders recorded the incident with cellphones Thursday night during the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. No serious injuries were reported.

The Magic Carpet Ride “came off the blocking,” said Joe Evans of Traverse City-based Arnold Amusements. It was being sent back to the Ohio company that manufactured it.

“Obviously there was a malfunction,” Evans said. “We don’t know as of yet what it was.”

Joy Ogemaw told WPBN-TV that she looked up at the ride after hearing a loud bang.

“It was like scraping, and then it started going faster,” she said. “And then it started like rocking a little bit back and forth.”

The ride’s operator switched off the power and jumped to safety, the Traverse City Record-Eaglereported.

Bystanders grabbed a guardrail attached to the ride’s main base to hold it down.

Rides at the midway are inspected daily by Arnold Amusements employees, annually by the state and three times a year by a third party, the company said.

A spokeswoman with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that records showed the carnival ride that malfunctioned was last inspected in 2019 and the result was satisfactory.

“Rides with a satisfactory permit from the previous season are temporarily permitted to operate under their prior permit until their inspection in the current season,” Suzanne Thelen said in an email. “There was no carnival season during the pandemic, and the ride was operating at the Cherry Festival on a temporary permit based upon the satisfactory previous inspection.”

The National Cherry Festival started July 3 and was scheduled to end Saturday.

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