Cause of Shock That Injured 6 on New London Park Ride Released

Four children and one adult were injured by an electric shock from an amusement park ride in New London, Connecticut on Tuesday.

New London police responded to the Ocean Beach Park boardwalk just before 2 p.m. Tuesday after a park employee called 911 about a child having some kind of a medical problem, Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard said Wednesday.

Then, the dispatcher was able to determine the child received an electrical shock when he touched a metal fence while getting off the Scrambler ride.

After a daylong investigation, officials determined the issue was in a separate ride.

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our guests, and we never want anyone to have a negative experience when they come to the park. As soon as the incident took place, we took immediate action to call authorities and have the ride operators cease operations until we could ensure safety. Inspectors have been onsite conducting an official investigation and all rides have been cleared to re-open today," a spokesman for Ocean Beach Park said Wednesday. 

A source with the city said early Wednesday afternoon that a loose lighting wire came into contact with the frame of the ride and sent a current through it. Water from recent rains might have contributed to the issue, the source said. 

During a news conference, police said the problem was an electrical connection to the lighting ballast in the top of the Octopus, a ride that has fluorescent and incandescent lights that flash at different times.

Reichard said it appears the electrical charge went through the ride, out though the metal platform and to the rails on the outside of both rides.

The operator of the Scrambler told police he felt a "tingling" sensation when he was pressing the button to bring the ride to the stop, police said.

The five people who also said they felt "tingling" on the ride went to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital to be treated for minor injuries and were released on Tuesday.

They have been identified as 25-year-old Victor Williams, of Wauregan, his 10-year-old son and Williams’ girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter, 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

Police said Williams and his son were in one car of the Scrambler and the other children were in another car.

Williams’ son suffered minor burns to his hands when he touched a metal fence as he was getting off the Scrambler and the New London Fire Department transported the father and son to the hospital.

The other three children arrived at the hospital in a personal vehicle, police said.

Detectives ordered all rides in the park to be shut down until the issues were fixed and the rides have since reopened.

The Scrambler was built in 1965 and it was inspected this past spring before the season started.

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