Safety concerns after 3 children stuck on carnival ride

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)--- Fire crews rescued three children from an amusement ride at the West Towne Mall Carnival on Friday.

Bernadette Galvez, a spokesperson with the Madison Fire Department, said when crews arrived on scene, they found three children stuck on one of the rides about 12 feet off the ground. Park mechanics made several attempts to bring the ride down before calling the fire department.

Galvez said crews used a ladder to carry the three children to the ground. The children were reunited with their family.

Every year, employees at Mr. Ed's Magical Midways set up their carnival rides at West Towne Mall.

"This gives us a chance, an opportunity to get things going, get the gears oiled up again," said Christine Pingel, a carnival worker.

The three children who got stuck on Friday were on the Frog Hopper ride, a row of seats that goes up and down. Pingel said the ride is popular with young kids and sometimes, accidents do happen.

"Any machine you have to keep greasing and oiling and find the right spot for it to run efficiently," she said.

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), which inspects amusement rides, is working with the owner to find out what happened. A department official said the owner thinks an emergency brake unintentionally engaged.

"Every ride has little kinks. Any machine has a kink, you know, and even when we first purchased the Frogger, it had a kink. It’s just a matter of getting it into the right motion, it’s like a car," Pingel said.

DSPS inspects amusement rides annually — the Frog Hopper was last inspected by the department in June 2018. Ride operators inspect the rides every day.

The department does investigate accidents, but Friday's accident did not meet requirements to open an investigation.

Pingel said what happened should not stop families from visiting the carnival.

"The carnival is an opportunity for families to have their time together, to bond together and have long-lasting memories," she said.

Pingel thinks the ride will keep running this week at West Towne. DSPS officials said the ride should be back in service at Brat Fest.