LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- The 'Tapout' ride is back open at the Lehigh Acres Spring Festival after an incident on Sunday, when a piece of the ride flew off in the wind.
There were several people on the ride when it happened and no one was hurt. The company that operates the rides, Modern Midways, says there was no operator error and no ride malfunction.
But Richard Cureton 8-year-old daughter was on the ride at the time and he said it was a scary experience. "We heard a very loud screeching bang and I ran toward it and the ride was still in motion at that time," he says.
Modern Midways says high wind pushed a piece of the gate on the ride, also labeled 'rage in the cage,' into the ride itself and that piece came loose and hit and nearby car. Cureton says, "they said it was illegally parked and thank God for illegally parked because it probably saved some people from getting struck by that debris." The car owner was compensated for the damage.
WINK News was there Monday as state investigators inspected the ride and gave it the all clear to reopen.
Cureton says, "it's a feeling no parent wants to have. You want to make sure your child is safe. Once I knew she was safe it was a relief but then it turns to anger a little bit."
At last year's Lehigh Acres Spring Festival, the 'ring of fire' ride malfunctioned and injured several riders. An investigation found loose, worn and cracked parts on the ride.
"Unfortunately there's a record here that the festival needs to overcome with the community for this to be successful. It only takes one to mar the image and ruin the festival for everyone," Cureton.
Modern Midways tells WINK News the ride was inspected here on site on March 14th. The state investigators looking at the ride will complete a report that should be ready in the next few weeks.