September 9, 2013
Eighteen people, mostly children, were injured after an amusement ride malfunctioned at the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, Conn., on Sunday, according to police.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m. a "swing ride" in the Kids Cove section at Veteran's Memorial Park on Seaview Avenue lost power, causing some children on the ride to fall to the ground and others to crash into each other, authorities said.
"People were screaming. Kids were screaming and crying, and the frantic parents were knocking the barriers over to get to their children," Sam Razzaia, a witness, said.
"The children that were on the swings, they were banging off the frames. And some were falling off. I just couldn't believe I was witnessing this," Razzaia added.
Twelve children and one adult suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The victims were taken to Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport hospitals.
Police said all but one had been released by Sunday evening; the patient who was admitted had non-life-threatening injuries.
"It was a little traumatic. A scary experience," said April Potasz.
Potasz was working a concession next to the ride when the horrific scene unfolded and rushed over to help.
"I got a little boy off the swing, and he had a deep contusion on his leg. And his bone was sort of hanging out," said Potasz.
Hours after the incident, investigators continued to look over the ride, which has since been taken down.
While it remained shut down, the other rides in the park resumed at about 4:30 p.m. after the State Police Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit gave the OK.
Officials said all the rides were re-inspected before they resumed, but those who witnessed the frightening ordeal doubt they'll feel safe anytime soon.
In a statement, the event's organizers, the Norwalk Seaport Association, said:
"Our concerns remain for the well-being of those involved and their families. We are continuing to cooperate with the authorities."
Richard Stewart, owner of Stewart Amusements of Trumbull, said the swing ride is licensed by the state and was inspected on Friday. Stewart said he is cooperating with officials.
His company's website says it has provided rides and other attractions since 1983 at events in Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut and neighboring Westchester and Putnam counties in New York.
As reported by NBC Connecticut.