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Three Injured in Ride Mishap at Cornish Fair

Sunday, August 23, 2015
Cornish — A mother and daughter from Canaan were injured at the Cornish Fair on Friday night after falling from an amusement park ride called the “Zipper” as it was being loaded. A ride operator with Fanelli Amusement Co. also was injured.

All three suffered minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where they were treated and released Friday night.

According to a news release from the New Hampshire state Fire Marshal’s Office, which is leading the investigation, the injured riders were a 28-year-old mother from Canaan and her 8-year-old daughter.

The ride operator was described in the release as a 23-year-old male.

Their names were not made public.

A preliminary investigation indicated “mechanical issues occurred, causing the ride to move during the loading of the ride car,” according to the release.

Speaking outside the fairgrounds on Saturday, Cornish Police Chief Doug Hackett said his department secured the scene after the incident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Friday night.

He said the riders fell an estimated 8-10 feet and the fair worker tried to “catch” them, sustaining injuries in the process.

Hackett said the ride passed an inspection by state officials prior to the fair. He said he’s never seen a problem with the Zipper in his decades on the job.

The ride was cordoned off with yellow police tape on Saturday and had not reopened by last evening. The news release from the Fire Marshal’s Office said the investigation is ongoing, with tramway and amusement ride safety inspectors from the state Department of Safety leading inspections.

According to a post on the website Amusement Ride Extravaganza, a hobby site that documents park rides, enthusiasts consider Zipper rides to be “the standard measuring stick to which all other ‘scary’ rides are measured.”

Zipper rides reach up to 56 feet tall with 12 passenger cages rotating in a “completely chaotic ride pattern” and “flipping riders with maximum white-knuckle force.” Each cage holds two adults or three children, according to the site. Recommended ride times are two minutes.

Amusement Ride Extravaganza says Zipper rides date back to 1968. More than 200 have since been built and distributed around the world, it says, and they can cost about $1 million.

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.

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