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Security at the scene of a midway accident that sent a number of people to hospital in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, July 16, 2010. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)
Security at the scene of a midway accident that sent a number of people to hospital in Calgary, Alberta on Friday, July 16, 2010. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)

10 injured at Calgary Stampede midway mishap Add to ...

An accident on one of the Calgary Stampede's midway rides injured 10 people Friday evening, sending six teenagers to hospital and horrifying the crowds below.

Witnesses said part of a mechanical arm on a circling ride called the Scorpion wrenched free, flinging several riders to the ground.

The riders had been in pods attached to the arm that let go.

"People were all on the ground with sponges on their head and stuff like that. Very serious," said Chantal Sciore, who was on a nearby ride at the time and heard a loud bang.

"People who were on the ride with them, the kids, were bawling and screaming and crying and mass chaos. It was scary," added her friend Aida Sadr.

EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said six people between the ages of 13 and 19 were taken to area hospitals.

Two 13-year-old girls were in stable condition, he said. A 14-year-old boy who ambulance crews said was in serious condition was later upgraded to stable.

The other patients were in their mid-to-late teens and were taken to hospital "with a variety of injuries, predominantly sort of soft tissue and things like that," he said.

"The important thing is all are considered to be non-life-threatening at this point in time," he added.

Four others were treated for injuries by Stampede medical staff at the scene.

Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser said a "mishap on a ride" occurred at 8:30 p.m. local time. Other Stampede officials said that fire crews stationed at the park were on the scene within minutes and immediately began treating the injured.

Electrical power was cut to the ride as firefighters helped its other riders to safety and ensured the broken machine posed no further danger to the public.

However no other rides or attractions were closed as a result of the incident, and many at the park said they hadn't even heard about the accident.

Tony Diaz, general manager of North American Midway, which provides all the rides at the Stampede, said the rides are inspected daily.

He said the province is investigating the accident, and that the other attractions would remain open in the meantime.

"The devices are open, our daily inspections go on, and we continue to inspect with very competent inspectors and we will continue to inspect vigorously."

He said such an accident is unprecedented for the company.

"Safety is paramount to our company, it's the most important thing we do," he said.

Stampede officials conveyed their "thoughts and prayers" to the people and families affected by the incident in a statement released late Friday.

CEO Vern Kimball said the organization hadn't given any thoughts to what the accident could mean for the western fair, which has operated in Calgary for almost 100 years.

"Our concern right now is for those that are injured and for the families that are affected by this incident. That's as far as we've given any thought at this moment."

 

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