Delta Fair taking heat for response to accident that left some injured

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Those in charge of the Delta Fair are being criticized for how they handled an accident that sent several people to the hospital Saturday night.

Soon after, the  Shelby County Sheriff's Office said as many as 14 people had been thrown from the ride.

Seven riders and the ride operator went to the hospital.

Of the eight who went to the hospital, two were adults and the rest were children.

At the time of the accident, a Delta Fair spokesperson said there were no injuries but several people were taken to the hospital as a precaution

He also said no one was thrown from the ride.

Sunday morning, a statement was posted by the Delta Fair on Facebook saying there had indeed been injuries.

"We released the statement on our Facebook Page at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It was not until later last night around 10 or 11 p.m. that we were told about the individuals at the hospital that indeed did have injuries. In no way were our intentions to mislead or lie to anyone and certainly do not want to come across that way."

The majority of comments on the Delta Fair Facebook page were criticisms.

One person wrote, "The situation was handled very messy and unprofessional. We will not be attending between the workers being shocked to the unprofessionalism of yesterday's actions speaks volumes."

A preliminary investigation points to operator error as the cause, according to the Delta Fair.

According to the Delta Fair, the ride's computer detected a problem, so it shut down the Moonraker, making the ride slow down and return to the ground.

The ride spins and lifts and spins on its side.

The ride operator panicked and pressed a manual override, which caused the lap bars to release as the ride was lowering.

"We could've died," said Anna Jordon, who was on the ride with her best friend Hannah. "We were in the air and then it just stopped out of nowhere," Hannah said. She said she slid almost to the other side of the ride.

The safety official said it's concerning that the operator has a feature where he or she can lift the bars up halfway through the ride. He also said it was unusual.

"We're not used to seeing that feature, and I don't know if because he was in emergency mode he was able to do that," he said. "I have never seen a ride that you could disable the safety feature while it was in motion."

Shelby County Code Enforcement was called out to the fair and will determine whether the ride opens back up or gets the boot.

The ride will stay closed until at Wednesday.

This comes several days after two workers were shocked while assembling a ride before the fair opened.

Full statement from Delta Fair:

We have been receiving several comments and messages regarding the Moonraker ride incident yesterday. After being checked out by the on-site EMT, the paramedics told us that there were no visible injuries and that the individuals walked to the ambulance. The reason for having the riders transported to the hospital was to verify that everyone was indeed okay.
Yesterday's incidents were very unfortunate and we are grateful that the injuries that did occur were minor in nature and no one was seriously hurt. Our apologies and condolences go out to the individuals on the ride involved, and also to everyone that was under the impression that we were trying to mislead you.
We released the statement on our Facebook Page at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It was not until later last night around 10 or 11 p.m. that we were told about the individuals at the hospital that indeed did have injuries. In no way were our intentions to mislead or lie to anyone and certainly do not want to come across that way.
Here at the Delta Fair & Music Festival, we have tried to be honest and present a track record of being forthright and honest with the public in our 10 year history. We are going to go above and beyond to make sure that this does not occur again. Please Share."