GREENEVILLE (WATE) – Three children fell from a Ferris wheel at the Greene County Fair on Monday night.
Authorities in Greeneville say one of the baskets flipped over around 6:15 p.m. causing three children to fall 35 to 40 feet. All three victims were children, the oldest of whom is 16, from two families. All three were rushed to Johnson City Medical Center. Two were taken by helicopter and one by ambulance.
Police say all three children are alert and awake at the hospital.
WJHL spoke with an eyewitness, Gregory Lynthacum of Washington County, Tennessee, said he saw three young girls fall from the Ferris wheel when their car appeared to get caught as the wheel lifted them upwards spilling them out.
“It was like watching water pouring from a glass,” Lynthacum said. “They bounced off the metal bridging of the ride and eventually hit the ground.”
Lynthacum said the girls’ injuries appeared to be very serious. He said the ride eventually stopped after people on the ground began screaming at the ride operators.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assisted with the investigation for a time, but later said it was no longer assisting.
All fair rides are being shut down until a third-party inspector can come to Greeneville. Non-mechanical rides and attractions will remain operational.
“We’ll be relying heavily on the inspector to know whether there was mechanical issues. If there was neglect or anything like that,” said Capt. Tim Davis with the Greeneville Police Department.
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said last week there had been four amusement device accidents just since July 1 in the state and urged riders and operators to follow all safety guidelines.