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Day after boy critically injured, carnival ride back in service

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A carnival ride that critically injured a boy at the Red River Exhibition Thursday night is back up and running, the head of the Ex said Friday.

The roller coaster,  called the Crazy Mouse, was shut down Thursday night after a boy was struck by a car in an accident witnessed by horrified Ex visitors.

The ride was out of service until it cleared two inspections by provincial authorities, plus test runs by amusement-ride operators, Ex CEO Garth Rogerson said.  Once they were complete, the ride was put back into commission around 1 p.m., Rogerson said.

The boy remains in critical condition in hospital, police said Friday morning.  Authorities have not identified the boy, but one witness estimated he was about 12 years old.

Rogerson said the police were able to explain how the boy was hurt, but the accident itself is still a shock.

"It’s very sad. I didn’t sleep last night. You come to the fair to have fun and something like this happens? It’s absolutely tragic," he said.

The police investigation showed the boy got off the ride and somehow managed to jump a safety fence to get to the track itself -- which is closed to the public -- to retrieve his cap, Rogerson said.

An operator spotted the boy and hit the off switch as the next car was decelerating down the track to a stop, but the car struck the boy with enough impact to knock him unconscious, Rogerson said.

Both the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Workplace Safety and Health inspectors ruled Friday morning that the accident was not caused by equipment problem or human error. The safety fence was two metres high, which should have been high enough to keep anyone from scaling it, Rogerson said.

In addition to the operator at the switch, at least four other carnival workers were assigned to the ride at the time of the accident, and they were badly shaken up by it, Rogerson said.

In 2006, a carnival worker, 31, suffered critical head injuries when he was struck while working on the track in the restricted area of the same ride at the Ex.

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