Amusement Park Ride Operator Killed at Long Island Festival
1172166_round-robin sxchu username gansales.jpgAccording to the Suffolk County Police Department, a carnival worker was killed by a spinning ride on Long Island in early September. 22-year-old Michael Austin was reportedly struck on the head after he ducked underneath a Scat ride during Brentwood's Feast of Mother Cabrini festival. Austin was allegedly attempting to repair an issue with the music playing on the ride when the man was hit by a spinning basket. The force of the impact reportedly knocked Austin to the ground. The man was immediately transported to a local area hospital where he reportedly died as a result of his injuries. According to festival organizers, the 16 passengers on the ride at the time of the accident were uninjured.
The ride that struck Austin is owned by his employer, Zorlenzan Amusements. According to the company's owner, Pete Zorlenzan, all amusement ride operators are required to wait for a ride to stop prior to stepping beneath it. He also stated such an accident was unexpected because Austin's conduct violated established company safety procedures. The company reportedly operates amusement rides at a variety of festivals throughout Long Island. Zorlenzan was apparently working in another area of the festival grounds at the time of the fatal incident.
Although the nine-day festival benefiting charitable organizations continued despite the tragic incident, the Scat ride was closed. A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Labor said the agency is currently investigating the exact cause of the fatal incident. According to agency investigators, the 40-year-old ride appeared to be in working order at the time of the accident. Representatives from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration are also reportedly investigating the accident.
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