• Attendant wasn't monitoring Sky Flyer ride at Jax Fair before malfunction, state investigators say

    By: Ryan Nelson , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Action News Jax investigator Ryan Nelson obtained the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ findings in their Sky Flyer ride malfunction investigation. The ride malfunctioned in November, leaving several children under 12 injured at the Jax Fair.

    The report states the ride’s operator confirmed to an investigator he turned toward the midway as the ride was being lowered and then heard the carriers hitting the platform fencing.

    Investigators found the ride company Midway Rides of Utica to be in violation of two Florida statutes, stating "Midway Rides of Utica’s ride attendant failed to properly monitor the ride seats/carriers while being lowered. Had the ride attendant been monitoring the lowering of the seats/carriers, the impact with the ride platform fence would not have occurred.”

    It also stated, “The ride attendant failed to ensure the patrons entering the ride met the age/guardian requirements as recommended by the manufacturer.”

    According to the report, the ride’s manufacturer recommended “children older than 12 years” enter the ride and recommended kids younger than 12 ride with a parent or adult.

    The report states the kids transported by Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department due to injuries “were all under the age of 12 years old and the adults listed were not on the ride when the accident took place.”

    Action News Jax reached out to a Midway Rides of Utica spokesperson in a phone call this afternoon and asked for a response to the state’s findings. The spokesperson said they have no comment and declined an interview.

    Shawn Hall recalled the day his daughter was injured on the ride in November.  

    “Like a movie, it was like a scary movie,” said Hall. “I mean, the ride was hitting the rails, the chairs were hitting each other, banging into each other, kids was being tossed around.”

    The experience Hall had with the Sky Flyer now has him warning other parents.

    “Have your own judgement on it,” said Hall. “If it looks bad, it is bad. If it looks raggedy, it is raggedy. Don’t get on it. I wouldn’t get on it.”

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