Fairgrounds Bungee Jump Remains Closed After Mishap

Ventura Co, CA – The Ventura County Star reports that a bungee jump at the Ventura County Fair remained closed on Tuesday nearly a week after a 19-year-old man was left dangling dozens of feet in the air for about 30 minutes.

The incident on the first day of the fair happened after a mechanical system that normally pulls jumpers back to the cage, malfunctioned.

Inspectors with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) continue to look into why the system failed. Authorities say it’s possible the bungee jump could reopen before the fair ends on Sunday, although much would depend on what investigators find and how quickly repairs are made if needed.

The jump, known as the Super Bungee, is operated by Amusement Management International, Texas.

Jumper Roger Rodriguez, 19, said he nearly passed out as he hung some 30 feet in the air waiting to be rescued. He jumped from a cage some 100 feet above the ground.

Rodriguez said it was his 3rd time bungee jumping and “it’s my last.”

Fire crews used an aerial ladder to get him back on the ground.

Crews also used a rope to rappel down to get two other people — the ride operator and Rodriguez’s friend Eddie Rodriguez (no relation) — in the bungee cage back to the ground.

Roger Rodriguez said he was still light headed more than an hour after the mishap. He was refunded the $40 he paid for jump and the price of his fair ticket.

Last month, in Columbus, OH, one person was killed and seven others were injured on the ride known as the Fire Ball as parts of the structure, including a full row of seats, split up and fell.

Emergency rooms saw an estimated 30,000 injuries linked to amusement parks in 2016, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. But experts warn that data about amusement park safety is limited, and regulations are inconsistent.

The International Association for Amusement Parks said that while approximately 335 million people visit amusement parks in the United States each year, the likelihood of sustaining a serious injury at an amusement park that would lead to an overnight stay at a hospital is one in 16 million.

The amusement park association conducts an annual safety survey, the most recent of which was published in 2016. Of the parks from which the association collected data, it estimated that in 2015 there were 1,508 ride-related injuries among park attendees who went on rides. That’s an increase of 32% since 2014, when there were 1,146 ride-related injuries. No data on fatalities were reported.