New information about the carnival ride malfunction that injured 13 people in Norwalk last month indicates that the ride may not have been properly maintained, according to the company that manufactured the ride.
A dozen children and one adult were taken to the hospital after the Zumur swing stopped in midair at the Norwalk Oyster Festival in early September. Authorities said the malfunction caused riders to crash into one another. Of the 23 people on board, 13 were taken to area hospitals for treatment. They have all been released in good condition, police said.
The lingering questions: what happened and why?
According to Stewart Amusement, the Trumbull-based company that owns and operates the ride, the malfunction happened when a shaft inside the swing’s motor snapped. The Zumur swing is 30 years old, the company said.
Stewart Amusement said they couldn’t have predicted the problem, but Chance Rides, whose predecessor created the swing, said the ride’s gears had not been properly adjusted. Stewart Amusement is disputing this claim.
Inspectors with the State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit signed off a safety check on Sept. 6, two days before the accident. The inspection report indicates that officials didn’t notice any problems with the swing, even though three other rides were found in need of repair. “Ride structure” and “ride moving parts” are listed on the safety checklist.
Police said the ride was thoroughly vetted and that inspectors don’t examine the internal mechanisms of the rides they check.
After the crash, Stewart Amusement issued the following statement:
"Preliminary investigation is that the Zumur swing ride suffered a mechanical malfunction at the Norwalk Oyster Festival. Our first and only concern is for the well-being of those involved and their families. We are continuing to cooperate with authorities as they investigate into the root cause of the accident."