Fall from Ferris wheel hurts 3

Posted at 8:22 AM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 08:22:17-04

PORT TOWNSEND, WA (KIRO/CNN) - Three people, including a child, fell an estimated 15 feet from a Ferris wheel ride at a festival on Thursday. 

An injured 59-year-old woman had to be airlifted to a hospital. She is in critical but stable condition.

Firefighters said the whole tub tipped over before they fell.

The accident occurred at Port Townsend's annual Rhododendron Festival carnival. 

The Ferris wheel is operated by Funtastic, based in Portland.

"It's not what we do. It's not what we're in business for. This is a terrible, terrible thing," said Ronald Burback, president of Funtastic.

The company has been in business since the 1950S - and hosts annual safety seminars attended by amusement ride operators from around the country.

He said this is the first time an accident like this has happened under their watch.

"This is about as bad as it gets in the amusement ride business. We would never want this to happen to anybody," Burback said.

He said he will wait for police to allow the company to look at the machine. Burback expects to find out more Friday.

Until then, he's hearing what happened from his staff on the ground and seeing pictures.

"We don't think it's an equipment failure at this time because of the way that the - the way that the tub flipped," Burback said.

The fire department said they inspected the rides before the festival.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries says while all rides are inspected, that's not a guarantee against accidents.

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