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Dozens Hurt in Amusement Park Accident

July 31, 2001|From Associated Press

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The wheel of an amusement park ride sheered off its axle and crashed to the ground at Michigan's Adventure Amusement Park on Monday, injuring two dozen people and leaving some riders stranded for hours before rescuers could remove them from swinging cars.

The ride, a variation on a Tilt-A-Whirl called the Chaos, broke free early Monday evening. The ride begins spinning horizontally and gains speed, turning vertically until it resembles a speeding Ferris wheel. The ride fell about 6:30 p.m. while nearly vertical.

"They were lucky nobody got hit when it hit the ground because pieces were flying everywhere like missiles," said Mike McFarland, whose 13-year-old daughter was stuck on the ride until 10 p.m.

Rescuers had to wait three hours to begin removing passengers because authorities feared the wheel was unstable and would fall over.

Fire Chief Kevin Blanchard said rescuers on ladders comforted riders and evaluated their injuries while workers made sure the ride was stable enough to begin removing them.

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