Bystanders step in to help after ride goes out of control at National Cherry Festival in Traverse City

Posted at 9:40 AM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 18:57:34-04

(WXYZ) — Bystanders stepped in to help after a carnival ride went haywire during the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reports.

The Magic Carpet Ride carnival attraction began to spin out of control and the entire machine rocked back and forth, according to the Record-Eagle.

The newspaper reports that more than a dozen bystanders helped the ride operator hang onto the unstable ride to try and prevent it from rocking.

Authorities told the Record-Eagle that nobody was injured in the ride’s major malfunction, and follow-up investigation of the equipment was ordered by the maker.

Traverse City Police helped company workers unload the passengers from the ride.

In response to the incident, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) said that its job is to provide permits for amusement rides, but it does not license operators. LARA does inspect rides once per season, according to the Carnival Amusement Safety Act of 1966.

Additionally, a LARA spokeswoman said in a statement, "Rides with a satisfactory permit from the previous season are temporarily permitted to operate under their prior permit until their inspection in the current season. This ride, the “Magic Carpet Ride” was last inspected in Michigan in 2019 and the result was satisfactory. There was no carnival season during the pandemic, and the ride did not operate in Michigan in 2020. The ride was operating at the Cherry Festival on a temporary permit based upon the satisfactory previous inspection.

Michigan has over 300 amusement ride operators and LARA issues permits for over 1,100 amusement rides. Inspection began in March, 2021 and LARA has conducted 585 inspections so far this year, which is consistent with the number of inspections that regularly occur at this time each year."

LARA added that Arnold Amusements, which is based in Alma, Michigan and the owner and operator of the ride that malfunctioned, hasn't had any incidents documented with LARA in the past five years.

The machine was taken down and removed from the festival grounds overnight. The remaining carnival rides re-opened on schedule at 11 a.m. Friday.