Ferris Wheel Accidents

Below is a comprehensive list of Ferris wheel accidents and mishaps dating from 2002 to present. Are Ferris wheels dangerous? Absolutely not, if properly maintained and rules are followed. The odds of being seriously injured at one of the United States’ 400 fixed-site amusement parks are 1 in 9 million as safety is the number one priority for the amusement park industry. About 280 million guests visit those theme parks each year, taking 1.7 billion rides. In fact, you’re more likely to be injured in an accident on the way to an amusement park than on any of the rides.

Many Ferris wheel deaths and accidents can be blamed on the rider not following the posted rules, such as rocking the gondolas or unsecuring latches or safety mechanisms.  Some operators now prohibit single riders with the hope of preventing disasters or suicide attempts.

By examining the Ferris wheel accident statistics it’s easy to see most incidents occur on portable carnival rides and not on the permanently fixed observation wheels. This is due to their design and construction techniques and inspection schedules. Riders are not the only ones at risk either. Since 1985, at least 12 carnival workers have been killed while assembling or disassembling a portable Ferris wheel ride.

Date Theme Park/Festival Location Accident Headline
1/26/2013 Global Village Dubai Piece fell off and hit a man in the head killing him
8/6/2012 Carnival Jambi; Indonesia Three teenagers were injured after a fully loaded Ferris wheel collapsed
5/18/2012 Carnival St. Clair Shores; Michigan a girl was struck in the head by a bolt that came off a Ferris wheel
6/3/2011 Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier Wildwood; New Jersey 11 year old girl fell over 100 feet to her death
7/28/2010 Carnival West Valley City; Utah Worker disassembling a Ferris wheel suddenly became pinned between a rail and the drive wheels
4/5/2010 Carnival New South Wales; Australia 3 teens injured after Ferris wheel gondola falls 15 feet
8/18/2007 Busan; South Korea Ferris wheel catastrophe kills five
8/13/2007 Felixstowe Carnival Suffolk; UK 17 yr old girl trapped underneath ride in attempt to exit before stop
8/4/2007 State Line Heritage Days Dayton; Ohio 3-year-old boy fell 25 feet from a Ferris wheel
6/30/2006 Carnival Houston; Missouri 34 yr old carnival worker electrocuted when he fell and got tangled up in a wire and died
6/18/2006 San Joaquin Fair Stockton; California 6 yr old dies after 90 foot fall from Ferris wheel
7/21/2005 Warren County Fair Lebanon; Ohio Carnival worker charged with operating a Ferris wheel while intoxicated
7/20/2005 Carnival Deale; Maryland Six yr old falls 6 feet from Ferris wheel
8/21/2004 Carnival Phoenicia; New York Malfunction strands children aboard Ferris wheel
4/17/2004 Joyland Wichita; Kansas 13 yr old girl injured in fall from Ferris wheel
3/20/2004 Tamworth Show New South Wales; Australia 6 yr old boy injured in fall from Ferris wheel
9/8/2003 Gregg County Fair Longview; Texas 20-year-old carnival worker was electrocuted as he was preparing a Ferris wheel
5/28/2003 Festival New Delhi; India Ferris wheel collapsed under strong winds and rain killing 12 people. At least 20 others were injured.
8/8/2002 York's Wild Kingdom York Beach; Maine 50 people left stranded on Ferris wheel after malfunction caused the ride to stop
6/28/2002 Boomers! Escondido; California Ferris wheel malfunctioned leaving 23 people stranded for two hours
5/27/2002 Libery Park Salt Lake City; Utah 5 yr old girl falls from Ferris wheel in Utah
5/20/2002 Wicksteed Park Kettering; England Boy injured in fall from 25 foot wheel

Last revised: May 22, 2013

Ferris Wheel Accidents Caught on Video

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