Ferris wheel stuck

A Ferris wheel gondola is stuck at the Central Carolina Fair in Greensboro on Friday. A worker freed the gondola but was slightly injured when he fell onto a car.

GREENSBORO — A video of two children trapped inside a Ferris wheel car dangling on its side is bad enough.

Watching multiple workers scale the side of that Ferris wheel to reach those children is pretty terrifying.

But to see that car swing violently back and forth as workers tried to free it, knocking one of those workers to the ground, is horrifying.

That is what happened Friday night at the Central Carolina Fair at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

Two children climbed onto the Thief Expo Wheel and rode up one side, over the top and began to come down the back when their gondola became lodged in a sideways position.

To rescue the children, employees of Michael’s Amusements, which owns the ride, began to climb up the sides of the Ferris wheel to reach the gondola.

Video captured by a fairgoer posted on YouTube shows an unidentified employee swinging the gondola into its proper position but then losing his footing and falling onto a car below. On the way down, he struck his arm on a support beam.

“An employee with Michael’s Amusements suffered minor injuries last night while attempting to adjust the gondola,” said Andrew Brown, public relations manager for the coliseum.

It is not clear why the ride’s operators took it upon themselves to scale the ride instead of waiting for emergency personnel.

A call to Michael’s Amusements went unanswered, and the company’s voicemail was full.

Brown said both Greensboro Police Department and Guilford County Emergency Medical Services were on site at the time.

Greensboro Fire Department spokesman Assistant Chief Dwayne Church said firefighters were dispatched to the fair around 9:30 p.m., but their call was canceled before arriving.

Brown said the Michael’s Amusements’ employee was treated by EMS, transported to a local hospital and released. He returned to work at the fair on Saturday, Brown said.

N.C. Department of Labor spokesman Jason Tyson said Monday the Ferris wheel was approved for operation before and after the gondola was stuck.

“The Department of Labor inspects a ride every time it is disassembled and reassembled elsewhere in the state,” Tyson said. “If it moves to a new location in the state, we will do a full inspection again.”

Tyson said that the ride cannot operate until the Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device bureau certifies that the ride is functioning at 100 percent.

“The Ferris wheel was certified and passed inspection,” Tyson said. “We reinspected it and looked into it again. It was restored to its proper condition.”

Tyson said the Department of Labor is looking into what caused the gondola to turn on its side and plans to release a report in three months.

He said the state certified the Ferris wheel for use Saturday.

“There were probably hundreds of people who rode it Saturday and Sunday with no incidents,” Brown said.

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Contact Danielle Battaglia at 336-373-4476 and follow @dbattagliaNR on Twitter.

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