Tenn. renews permit for operators of faulty Ferris wheel

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Members of the Greeneville Fire Department help people off the Ferris wheel at the Greene County Fair in Greeneville, Tenn., Aug. 8, 2016 after 3 people in one tub were thrown out..(Photo: O.J. Early, The Greeneville Sun via AP)


Although Greene County canceled the contract for an amusement ride operator<span style="color: Red;">*</span>after three<span style="color: Red;">*</span>girls were injured in a Ferris wheel accident, the<span style="color: Red;">*</span>state<span style="color: Red;">*</span>of Tennessee cleared the company to move on<span style="color: Red;">*</span>to<span style="color: Red;">*</span>four more<span style="color: Red;">*</span>county<span style="color: Red;">*</span>fairs this year.
Briley Reynolds, 6,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>remains hospitalized in serious condition from a traumatic head injury, while her sister Kayla, 10, who suffered a broken arm, and a 16-year-old girl have been<span style="color: Red;">*</span>released<span style="color: Red;">*</span>from the hospital,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>The Greeneville Sun<span style="color: Red;">*</span>reports. The three were<span style="color: Red;">*</span>injured when the Ferris wheel bucket in which they were riding tipped and threw them at least 25 feet to the ground<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Monday.
Kimmee Reynolds, mother of two of the injured girls, says<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Briley is<span style="color: Red;">*</span>off a ventilator. On her Facebook page, she wrote early Saturday<span style="color: Red;">*</span>that<span style="color: Red;">*</span>hearing her daughter come out of a coma was "the most emotional moment of my life."
"I was walking back in the room and she was asking for me," she<span style="color: Red;">*</span>wrote.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>"With her tiny, scratchy and quiet voice she says 'Why am I here?' I responded by telling her she is sick and just needs to get better. I said 'I love you Briley Jae' and she mumbled 'Love you' and I bawled like a baby."
Kimmee Reynolds shared photos and updates on her two daughters, who fell nearly four stories from the top of a Ferris wheel in Greene County Monday.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>(Photo: Submitted)

Greene County Fair Board President Bobby Holt said<span style="color: Red;">*</span>that after the accident, the board and the ride operators,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Family Attractions Amusement LLC,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>mutually agreed to cancel a contract set<span style="color: Red;">*</span>to be in force until 2017, WJHL-TV reported.
“With the accident it just wasn’t a situation that we felt was mutually beneficial in any way for them to be back here next year,” Holt said.
Only food booths were set to open Saturday, the final day of the fair. The Ferris wheel that went awry has been dismantled and<span style="color: Red;">*</span>shipped back to its manufacturer for repair, The Sun<span style="color: Red;">*</span>reports.
Holt<span style="color: Red;">*</span>said the rides were taken down and shipped out by Friday. “It was encouraging to come up the hill this morning and not have that reminder,” he said.
The board will now look for another<span style="color: Red;">*</span>ride provider, Holt said.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>“It’s going to take a while to nail that down and review some carnivals and their safety records and try to make the right decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Department of Labor and Workforce Development late Friday renewed the operating<span style="color: Red;">*</span>permit for Family Attractions that was<span style="color: Red;">*</span>set to expire Saturday, according to Jennifer Farrar, a spokesman for the agency.
The<span style="color: Red;">*</span>permit<span style="color: Red;">*</span>was renewed after two investigations examined the Ferris wheel. According to an<span style="color: Red;">*</span>accident form submitted to the Labor Department,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>worn and broken rivets allegedly caused<span style="color: Red;">*</span>a piece of trim to loosen and catch part of the<span style="color: Red;">*</span>wheel, flipping the tub carrying the passengers by 90 degrees.
The Georgia-based operators, who have performed at nine fairs this year,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>will handle<span style="color: Red;">*</span>the rides at<span style="color: Red;">*</span>fairs in<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Jamestown, Dunlap, Parsons and Dickson, all in Tennessee.
Organizers of the Greene County Fair kept their carnival-ride operator despite a North Carolina incident in October 2013 that injured five and caused the owners’ son to be jailed.
At the North Carolina State Fair, five people were injured when an Italian-made ride called the Vortex unexpectedly restarted as they were trying to get off the ride, flinging them through the air and down to the steel deck below. Instigators determined ride operators disabled a safety mechanism.




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