A 59-year-old woman was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with critical but non-life-threatening injuries, and two others were taken to Jefferson Healthcare Thursday, May 18, after falling 15 to 20 feet out of a cart on the Ferris wheel at the Funtastic Carnival at Memorial Field in Port Townsend.
East Jefferson Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Bill Beezley said the Ferris wheel was shut down and cordoned off, and Port Townsend police officers are to remain on the scene throughout the night.
The state Department of Labor and Industries is to expected to arrive Friday morning, May 19, to investigate the accident, Beezley said.
Other rides were not shut down after the accident, which occurred about an hour and 45 minutes after the carnival opened at 4 p.m. for the Rhododendron Festival.
In addition to the 59-year-old woman, a 47-year-old woman suffered what Beezley said he thought were minor to moderate injuries, while a 7-year-old boy suffered minor injuries. Beezley did not know if the three were related, or if they were all from Jefferson County. Both the 47-year-old woman and the boy were taken to Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend, Beezley said.
“We don’t know if it’s a mechanical issue,” Beezley said.
When the three fell, “one of them lightly clipped a 30-year-old man on the way down,” Beezley said, but the man declined medical attention.
“They landed on the metal floor at the base of the Ferris wheel, with the older woman taking the brunt of the fall. The others may have landed on her,” Beezley said.
Beezley said posting officers at the scene was intended to ensure the area was protected.
He added fire officials had looked at the grounds earlier in the day to ensure that they were in good condition, but noted that the fire department did not sign off on the rides.
Talking to one Rhody organizer who had been attending Rhody Festivals for 40 years, Beezley said, “She couldn’t remember another incident like this.”