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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Five hurt in carnival ride accident
Section of Frightland attraction collapses
The operator of the Merry Mixer stands near the ride after it collapsed Saturday. (Special to The News Journal/EMILY VARISCO)
BY GINGER GIBSON • THE NEWS JOURNAL • October 3, 2010
MIDDLETOWN — A carnival ride collapsed at Frightland on Saturday night, sending five people to the hospital with minor injuries.
A section of the Merry Mixer came loose about 8:45 p.m. and flipped over while riders were on board, fire officials said.Three adults and two children were taken to Christiana Hospital, said Port Penn Fire Chief Frank Schoeffler.
The ride was part of a small carnival outside Frightland, a seasonal Halloween attraction off U.S. 13 about a mile south of the St. Georges Bridge.
The cause of the malfunction was not known at press time, according to state police.
Jim Houghton Enterprises Inc. was listed as the owner of the ride. An employee working the carnival said no one would comment on the accident.
Frightland manager Deb Hall said they have not had serious problems with rides in Frightland's 14-year history.
She also said the rides are operated by an independent company and are inspected for safety daily.
The other rides, including a Ferris wheel and "The Skydiver," a ride that turns riders upside down as they spin, continued to operate after the accident.
Jan Sheranko, 26, of Dover, said it was jarring to see the flipped ride, and she is now thinking twice about bringing her child to the small carnival.
"The trauma of that happening. If I were a kid on that ride, I would not ride rides anymore," Sheranko said.
Christine Pienkowski, 34, of Wilmington, was at the carnival with her sons, Owen, 8, and Cody, 14.
While Owen wasn't scared, his mom was a little more measured.
"I'm glad we didn't get on there," she said.
But Clive Ramcharan, 52, of Wilmington, who was arriving at the carnival with a group of teens. was undeterred.
"Sometimes you come out, you just have to take a risk," Ramcharan said.
ggibson@delawareonline.com.

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