A 6-year-old girl suffered a traumatic brain injury after she and two other girls fell from a Ferris wheel at a Tennessee county fair.
Around 6:15 p.m. EST on Monday, one of the Ferris wheel’s baskets overturned at the Greene County Fair and ejected the children 35 to 45 feet to the ground.
The girls were transported to Johnson City Medical Center — two by helicopter and one by ambulance — where the youngest remains in critical condition.
The young girl’s 10-year-old sister suffered injuries to her forearms. The 16-year-old’s injuries were not known.
According to police, eyewitnesses have not been able to confirm reports that the seat of the basket was rocking before it overturned.
Local resident Lisa Bruner, who witnessed the incident, told press:
“Halfway, the bar came loose and two little girls, about 7 years old, fell from there all the way down and they hit their head and were just laying there, lifeless, and then the mom (likely the 16-year-old) was up above them just hanging. They had to climb up and get her to make sure she didn’t fall. The two little girls just fell to the ground and hit their heads real hard.”
All three children had reportedly been awake, alert and coherently answering questions at the hospital on Monday night.
Greenville police captain Tim Davis said authorities “don’t know at this time what caused the accident,” explaining:
“We have no idea how these machines function. We have to wait for the inspectors to get here and to actually look at the device and see if they can determine if it was mechanical in nature or something else.”
After the incident, all rides operated by Family Attractions Amusement company were closed, and won’t reopen until they undergo a third-party inspection that is approved by state and fair officials.
[Image via Instagram.]