Students question quality of rides at carnival

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Audra DeMariano was spinning inside a metal cage—light bulbs bursting and frayed wires exposed. She wasn’t attending a haunted house, but riding the Rock O Plane ride at the annual Homecoming FallFestival Carnival.

At least two other Webster University students were injured while riding the Rock O Plane ride provided by the American Banner Amusements Company at the festival on Saturday, Sept. 25.

One student, who asked not to be identified, sustained several blows to the head while riding on the Rock O Plane, and received treatment at St. Mary’s Hospital the next day.

The student suffered a concussion, muscle strains and dizziness. But the student wasn’t the only person affected by the ride.

“That thing was dangerous, no doubt,” said DeMariano, a sophomore broadcast and digital journalism major. “It was terrible, rough, and there weren’t any headrests.”

The ride—which is designed like a ferris wheel—straps riders into a metal cage that spins 360 degrees while the entire structure of the ride rotates continually.

“It was disorienting, confusing and it went on too long,” DeMariano said. “The light bulbs in the cage we were in were popping and breaking, and there were frayed wires around the bulbs.”

DeMariano approached the ride operator after she got off to explain what she experienced with the lights and frayed wires.

“He shrugged me off. Told that was ‘a normal occurrence,’” DeMariano.

Loren Douglass, program manager for campus activities, said that campus activities was “pleased overall” about the carnival experience.

“We used a different company for the carnival equipment this year then we did last year,” said Douglass, who is a junior marketing and economics major. “Our rides this year were a little more intense then last year, but I think the carnival was a success overall.”

Only one student complained about their injuries to campus safety.

The report, which was taken on the night of the carnival, reported that a student suffered “abrasions to the waist,” according to a campus safety report, caused by the rides restraints.

While reports of the rides potential dangers are still unclear, carnival rides were inspected on Friday, Sept. 24, Douglass said.

As of Tuesday night, American Banner Amusements did not reply to phone calls for comment on the story.

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