Orbiter may have been running backwards

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

November 6, 2006

There is more new information in the fair ride accident that put an Augusta teen in the hospital.

News 12 has learned District Attorney Danny Craig is in Wilmington, North Carolina today. He took an agent from the GBI with him.

They are taking a closer look at the Orbiter ride, which is now in winter storage in North Carolina.

13-year-old Desire Northington was thrown 60 feet from that ride at the Georgia Carolina State Fair in October.

Now there's concern the ride may have been running backward, and the DA wants to interview the owner and the people responsible for that ride.

The fair in Columbia County has the exact same ride, but called the Ion.

Last Friday, the Georgia Department of Labor ordered all Orbiter and Ion rides shut down.

News 12 spoke to a man named Cliff who has worked on fair rides for more than 24 years. He is currently working to maintain rides at the fair in Columbia County.

"We are under the state of Georgia law not to run a ride," he said of the Ion. "They've been in the U.S. for 34 years. Most shows have one."

He says he has never heard of anything like what happened at the fair in Augusta, where 13-year-old Desire Northington was thrown 60 feet from an Orbiter ride.

There's concern that Orbiter may have been running backwards.

"Are the buckets supposed to run a certain way?" we asked.

"Yeah," Cliff said.

And that seems to be the big question tonight. Was the ride running the right way?

News 12 shot video of the Orbiter at the Georgia Carolina State Fair, when it was briefly reopened after the accident.

Experts in the amusement industry say the ride as a whole is supposed to spin clockwise, and the buckets at the end of the arms are supposed to spin counterclockwise.

They say it if doesn't run this way, it can create too much force for the riders.

These experts have apparently seen our video, and say it may hold a clue about what happened that night.

Georgia's labor department says its investigation is still open.

That's in addition to the GBI and the district attorney's probe.

We'll stay on top of those investigations.

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