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Pennsylvania carnival operators talk about ride safety after deadly accident in Ohio

NORTH CORNWALL TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. -- Going to a fair or carnival is a traditional part of summer for many.

Now, carnival-goers may have concerns for the safety of some rides after a deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair.

The video of the accident is disturbing to watch for many, including those who work in the amusement industry.

In Pennsylvania, there are many sets of eyes checking, double-checking, even triple-checking that rides are safe.

The worst nightmare for anyone who runs a carnival became a reality at the state fair in Ohio, as word of a deadly accident is on the minds of many operators in Pennsylvania.

Lebanon area fair board member Emily Summey said "we provide the fair for community fun, enjoyment and to have a safe place for families to come to, and when you hear about an accident like that, it's just so sad."

Penn Valley Shows owner Kerry Benner said "sympathy for everybody, everybody involved, not just the people that got hurt, but also the fair, the owners of the operation, because I can't imagine the weight they're carrying on their shoulders right now."

"It's a freak event. We really don't want something like that happening at our fairgrounds, and our hearts just go out to the families and the fair, and the amusements vendor involved there," Summey said.

It's an accident which some say shook the amusement industry as officials cite safety is always a major concern at events such as the Lebanon Area Fair.

"Our utmost concern when we look at an amusements contractor, and we know that the state department of agriculture has been inspecting the rides throughout the year, every time they're set up and torn down, they're inspected. So, safety really is number one in Pennsylvania," Summey said.

Benner overseas daily inspections of the rides he provides to the fair.

"I as an owner, and I also have some kids that are in laws to me, are my own children, that are state inspectors," Benner said.

His inspections don't stop with a team of licensed ride inspectors.

"An affidavit is submitted to the state. Now where the state comes into play, is they have what they call quality control inspectors. They randomly come out and inspect what we're doing ," Benner said.

Benner said he puts his focus on ride safety so that carnival goers don't have to think about it.

"We have one of the best jobs in the world, we are here to try to create happiness, fun for everybody.
We certainly do not want an incident," Benner said.

"We really believe in the system that Pennsylvania has put in place for rides inspections. As long as we're working with a certified contractor, and we are here at the Lebanon Area Fair, we feel comfortable putting our own children on the rides, and we hope that you do too," Summey said.

Besides using a second and third set of eyes that perform visual inspections, Benner said they will also conduct ultra-sonic inspections once a year on parts that they can't see or are known to be problematic.

"There's a lot of different chains, that the inspection process in Pennsylvania goes through. Hopefully, the more eyes on something the better," Benner said.