Three people attending the annual fair celebrating the popular Calaveras County jumping-frog contest were seriously hurt Friday when a carnival ride collapsed.
Fourteen other riders suffered minor injuries, said Dennis Townsend, a chief in the Calaveras County unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.
The three most seriously injured riders were being airlifted to area hospitals, he said.
Townsend said they were hurt when a type of swing ride collapsed shortly after 6 p.m. Friday. The ride has arms that fling out as they spin around an axis.
He said he did not know what might have caused the collapse or exactly how the riders were hurt.
State accident investigators were going to the fairgrounds, he said.
The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is held each year in late May and was inspired by the Mark Twain story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
The Calaveras County fairgrounds is located just outside the Gold Rush-era town of Angels Camp in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about 80 miles southeast of Sacramento. It bills itself as an "old-fashioned county fair."
Last year's jumping frog contest drew 4,000 entries. This year's final is set for Sunday.