Metal detection technology key to answering why fair ride broke


Inside EWI on the campus of Ohio State, Senior engineer Roger Spencer holds what looks like a clear computer mouse over a solid piece of steel.

The Ultra Sound machine, similar to what is used in a hospital can see what the human eye can't. It's what investigators are likely to use to figure out why the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair snapped killing one person and injuring seven others.

Spencer says the machines like this will answer the question why the metal arm of the ride snapped off.

"People trained at that can determine where the flaw started was it rapidly and over a long period of time," he said.

That's important because Spencer says when steel breaks it can leave a unique signature.

"Fatigue cracks are very smooth it would almost be like a machined surface," he said.

This metal detective work is called NDT-or non-destructive testing.

According to an inspection report on the Fire Ball ride, prior to the accident, inspectors noted NDT was completed.

No matter what the investigation finds as the cause, those looking to sue won't be able to collect from the fair.

According to the contract between the Fair and Amusement Rides of America, an indemnity clause states "the fair not be held harmless for any claim including death or injury."


COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tragedy at the Ohio State Fair