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
*Viewer discretion is advised
Return to the list of Observation Wheels.