Nearly 70 rides inspected before opening day of Coastal Carolina - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Nearly 70 rides inspected before opening day of Coastal Carolina Fair

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LADSON, SC (WCSC) -

Thursday thousands will have the chance to be flipped and twirled through the air on rides at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson.

68 rides have been put together like puzzle pieces by more than 100 crew members and looked over by 6 inspectors.

"For the full run of the fair we'll have anywhere from 2 to 3 inspectors on site constantly every day the fair is opened, until it closes," said ride inspector Jonathan Brooks.

Brooks says safety is at the top of his list. As soon as the trucks arrived Monday, that's when he and fellow inspectors started combing through all of the steel pieces.

"Going through and making sure everything is assembled correctly, looking and inspecting it from A to Z," said Brooks.

An inspector's goal is to prevent terrible mishaps like last week at a North Carolina fair. Witnesses there say a ride called the "Vortex" suddenly jolted into motion after stopping, causing several people to fall 20 to 30 feet to ground.

That same ride was supposed to come to the Coastal Carolina Fair, but it has been replaced by the "Nemesis 360."

Brooks says ride operators here are required to inspect and run a ride a full cycle before the day begins.

He says there are safety measures in place if something goes wrong.

"All the rides are equipped with emergency stop switches, so if the operator sees something that's not right, they can hit the emergency stop switch," said Brooks.

Rides must go through a 3 tiered system of inspection by the state, the licensed private company hired by the Coastal Carolina Fair and the carnival ride operator.

Brooks says South Carolina allows a ride to operate even if it has one compartment that doesn't work, but that isn't the case at the Coastal Carolina Fair.

Brooks said, "We have to have 100% of the ride operating 100% of the time."

As for anyone who questions the safety of a ride.

Brooks said, "What I'll tell you is I have two children of my own and you name the time, place and the ride and we'll go ride at the Coastal Carolina Fair."

This year fair officials are expecting more than 250,000 over the course of 11 days. If they reach that goal, it will set an attendance record.

The fair starts Thursday and ends November 10th. Gates open at 3 o'clock.

For more information on times and ticket prices go to CoastalCarolinaFair.org

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