Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ex thrill-seekers not spooked by mishap

Boy remains in critical condition after accident with roller-coaster

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A police squad car at the Crazy Mouse at the Red River Exhibition after Thursday evening's accident.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A police squad car at the Crazy Mouse at the Red River Exhibition after Thursday evening's accident. Photo Store

The Crazy Mouse ride was up and running at the Red River Exhibition Friday and riders said Thursday's accident was not causing them any worries.

The lineup for the roller-coaster ride was long on Friday, with people waiting about 10 to 15 minutes to get on the ride.

Joel Mazur was in line for the ride Friday, along with his two kids, and said he had no safety worries.

"It's my understanding it had nothing to do with the ride itself, just an overzealous young person," Mazur said.

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 Crazy Mouse was idle until it cleared two inspections by provincial authorities plus test runs by amusement-ride operators, Ex CEO Garth Rogerson said.

After that, the ride was put back into commission. That was after 1 p.m. Friday, Rogerson said.

Police reported Friday the boy, whose age was not released, remained in critical condition. At least one witness put the boy's age at about 12.

Rogerson said police were able to explain how the boy was hurt but the accident 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," Rogerson said.

Rogerson said the police investigation showed the boy got off the ride and somehow managed to jump a safety fence to get to the track and retrieve his cap.

The track is restricted and closed to the public.

An operator spotted the boy and hit the off switch just as the next car was decelerating down the track to a stop, but it 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 the accident was not an equipment problem or a human error.

"The injury occurred in the area of the ride that is off limits to both the public and the ride attendants while the ride is in operation. The investigation is ongoing but it appears at this time that the incident was not the result of a mechanical failure," a provincial spokesman said Friday.

Investigators were focused on how the boy managed to scale the fence into the restricted area without being seen until it was too late.

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

In an accident in 2006, a Red River Ex carnival worker was injured while operating the Crazy Mouse.

He left the control switch while the ride was still in motion and was on the track, in the restricted area, when he was struck.

"He made a full recovery," Rogerson said. "The Crazy Mouse is a very safe ride and I am not aware of any accident involving someone riding."

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2013 A15

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