5 Inspectors Responsible for Looking After Thousands of Rides

Two people were hurt in separate incidents at area carnivals on Thursday night, but how exactly does the state of Illinois work to keep carnival-goers safe from injury on rides?

The incidents occurred at festivals in suburban Midlothian and Plainfield on Thursday night, according to authorities. In Midlothian, two carnival rides apparently collided while in operation, with pieces from the rides striking a boy, according to police.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned that the two rides involved in the collision, Pharaoh’s Fury and Freakout, had passed state inspections in May.

In Plainfield, the back car of the Iron Dragon roller coaster came off of the tracks, sending a woman falling to the ground. She suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

The Iron Dragon ride also passed a state inspection in May.

State officials are looking for the causes of the two incidents, but even with thousands of carnival rides being used across the state, there are still only a handful of inspectors dedicated to ensuring the safety of rides, according to an NBC 5 Investigates report.

Back in 2014, NBC 5 Investigates revealed the state of Illinois only employs five full-time inspectors to look at more than 3,500 carnival rides every year.

Five years later, the state still only has five inspectors on its payroll full time, and they are responsible for between 4,500 and 5,000 inspections per year.

State officials told NBC 5 that a sixth inspector can be called upon to fill-in as needed.

Every ride must be inspected at least once per year, the state says, but many rides are inspected more than that.

Officials from the companies involved in running the carnivals where last night’s incidents occurred could not be reached for comment.

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