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Conn. fair ride malfunction under investigation

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The owner of a swing ride at a Connecticut fair that malfunctioned and injured 18 people says workers will disassemble the equipment to see if they can determine what happened.

Richard Stewart of Trumball-based Stewart Amusement Co. said Monday that the drive system of the "Zumur" swing ride locked up for some reason. He says the swings, which hang by metal chains, bumped into one another and into part of the ride when the system froze, but no one fell.

Norwalk Police say none of the injuries were life threatening but it was a terrifying experience both for the children on the ride, and their parents who were watching from the ground.

Witnesses described chaos in the midst of the Norwalk Oyster Festival after the "Zumur" malfunctioned.

Ron Laski says he was standing about 30 feet away when, around 2:15 p.m., the ride seemed to abruptly shut off and more than a dozen children who had been swinging high in the air -- suddenly came crashing down.

“Everyone was screaming, it was real bad,” said Laski.  “The kids were up in the air and all of a sudden there's a bang, all the swings drop down, but they slam the kids into the bottom of the rides.”

“People were screaming, yelling, running all around, I was scared and it wasn't even my kids,” said Fred Schonagel.

“I saw kids crying, kids trying to get by their parents, saw a lot of officers on the floor, the ground next to them,” said Victoria Chiapetta.

Pictures from local newspaper the Hour, were taken in the immediate aftermath as first responders tended to the young victims. Authorities say something caused the ride to lose power.

After the incident all of the rides were shut down, but most did reopen for the final hours of the festival.

Stewart says the 1983 ride had no previous problems and authorities inspected it before the fair began Friday.

The state police were continuing to investigate the cause of the accident.



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