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Teen Killed in 'Thrill Ride' Had Just Joined Marines

Maker wants Fire Ball rides worldwide shut down
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2017 4:47 AM CDT
Teen Killed in Ride Malfunction Had Just Joined Marines
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stand guard near the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The teenager killed in a horrific accident at the Ohio State Fair planned a future of serving his country and had enlisted in the Marine Corps just days earlier. Tyler Jarrell, 18, signed up for the Marines on Friday, with training to begin after he graduated from high school next year, the Washington Post reports. "He wanted to serve and do something that would make a huge difference and impact on his life," says Staff Sgt. James Hopper of the Marine Corps Columbus recruiting station. "He was a good kid, he was funny and great to be around." Jarrell's girlfriend, Keziah Lewis, was among seven people injured when the Fire Ball ride broke apart Wednesday evening, sending riders flying.

The state fair in Columbus reopened Thursday after what Gov. John Kasich called "the worst tragedy in the history of the fair," though with all rides closed for extensive inspections. KMG, the Dutch manufacturer of the Fire Ball, says it has called for the operators of the other Fire Balls worldwide to shut the rides down until it can conduct an investigation, the Columbus Dispatch reports. In Wednesday's accident, "a passenger-carrying gondola detached from the supporting sweep arm," the company said in a statement. The company says the Ohio ride was made in 1998 and is one of a total of 48 Fire Balls ever manufactured, with 11 of those going to the US. (Read more Ohio stories.)

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