March 19, 1992


Release # 92-068

WASHINGTON, D.C -- In the wake of the accident last summer at the Missouri State Fair, Sedalia, MO, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Wisdom Manufacturing, Inc. (WMI) are announcing a program to modify the "Gravitron" mobile amusement ride. The ride is a whirling cylinder which uses centrifugal force to hold the riders to their seats as the seats rise, giving the illusion that the floor is dropping out. On August 20, 1991, at the Missouri State Fair, a panel on the ride separated, throwing some patrons onto the midway and injuring 11 children.

The program announced today will strengthen the ride design and permit easier visual inspections by ride operators and inspectors. "These changes must be made to ensure riders' safety," said CPSC Chairman Jacqueline Jones-Smith.

The modifications require ride operators and/or inspectors to:

- Install turntable safety plates,

- Install corner pin reinforcement plates,

- Install an inside strap to the bottom frame,

- Note additions and changes to operators manual,

- Check and replace floor pins, if necessary,

- Inspect the panel bottom hole, for cracking,

- Trim carpet for easier floor pin inspection.

Since several states including Missouri, where the accident occurred, have no state inspection requirements, it is especially important that ride operators participate in the modification program. For information on the program, operators and inspectors should contact WMI directly at 303-522-7515 or CPSC's Office of Compliance and Enforcement at 301-504-7913.