Investigators find cause of Ferris wheel accident in Tennessee

@wvltmarco via Twitter

Greenville, TN (NBC News)- Investigators are saying, the rivets on the Ferris wheel basket three girls were riding in were worn down and that’s what caused it to overturn.

Two of the three girls who were seriously injured when they fell three stories from a Ferris wheel at a Tennessee county fair were released from the hospital Thursday, the hospital and the fair said.

The girls — ages 6, 10 and 16 — tumbled from the ride’s basket as it overturned at the Greene County Fair in Greeneville on Monday night. The two older girls have been sent home, Niswonger Children’s Hospital said, but the 6-year-old remained in critical condition.

“We continue to pray for the complete recovery of the youngest child, who still remains hospitalized,” the Greene County Fair board said in a statement Thursday.

Officials blamed a “mechanical failure” for causing the girls to drop at least 25 feet. In an accident report to the state Labor Department, which regulates amusement park rides in Tennessee, fair officials wrote that the girls’ car on the ride “got caught on a bar,” which “caused car to turn over.”

“At the time of the fall, the gondola was tipped to the interior of the ride approximately 90 degrees and the gondola was located at the 3 o’clock position of the ride,” according to the report.

The board said Thursday that it has canceled its contract with the company that provided rides for the annual fair, Family Attractions Amusements LLC of Valdosta, Georgia.

That leaves no permanent rides for the last two days of the fair — the 2016 season ends Saturday — but the board said food booths run by churches and businesses will remain open.

Greeneville police appealed for anyone who was at the fair to turn over any pictures of videos they might have taken of the accident.

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