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Broken Coupling on Fair Ride Traps 20 Upside Down at Bloomsburg Fair

October 3, 1988

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) _ An amusement ride that had passed inspection only days earlier was stopped in the middle of a loop by a broken coupling, stranding 20 people upside down for more than an hour, according to a state official.

At least 12 people were treated at hospitals for dizziness and other minor problems after the Super Loops ride at the Bloomsburg Fair malfunctioned Saturday night, authorities said.

″They were up there upside down, waving their arms, just hanging there,″ said fairgoer Vince Vangroski of Hazleton. ″They started to panic a little bit. Being upside down for that period of time is scary.″

Neil Cashman, director of the state’s Bureau of Amusement Rides, said the ride had been passed by state inspectors Tuesday after a worn-out wheel discovered by the ride owner’s inspectors was replaced.

″Everything was right up to par,″ he said.

The ride’s cars run inside a single large vertical loop, and are attached to and pulled along by a flexible inner loop, he said. The broken coupling attached a car to the inner loop.

Passengers are held in their seats by lap and safety bars. A safety cage runs the entire length of the train.

Rescue workers had to move the train slowly to the bottom of the loop to remove the passengers, Cashman said.

He said his office would contact the ride manufacturer, LMC Inc. of Texas, to find out whether similar problems had been reported elsewhere. He said he had not heard of any prior problems with the ride.

According to the state’s Amusement Ride Inspection Act, rides must be checked every time they are set up. It was passed by the state Legislature in 1984 after several accidents occurred on traveling carnival rides.

Cashman said a preliminary investigation does not indicate any wrongdoing. A state police spokesman said about 100,000 attended the agricultural exhibition and carnival Saturday, its last day. The ride was dismantled early Sunday morning.

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