Toddler at a ferris wheel (Illustration)
Toddler at a ferris wheel (Illustration) Flash 90

On Tuesday night, onlookers at the Greene County Faire, in the US state of Tennessee, were horrified to watch three young girls fall 30 feet, when a ferris wheel malfunction caused them to tip over, reports Fox News.

The parents of two of the girls, Jason and Kimmee Reynolds, described their terror at seeing their daughters and another little girl drop out of their carriage.

They had known something was wrong when they saw their daughters' terrified faces, but when they called to the ride operator, he ignored their warnings.

"When he was pushing go, we took off running and were yelling `Stop, stop, stop!"' Kimmee Reynolds said at a hospital news conference in Johnson City last night. "And he just looked at us and he pushed the button anyway, and so we watched them tumble out, just one by one."

Inspectors say that worn-out rivet fasteners failed, allowing the carriage to become stuck in the frame of the wheel. When the wheel began to move, it tipped the carriage, turning the girls out "like water," according to eyewitnesses speaking to Fox News.

Ten year-old Kayla broke her arm in the fall. Her sister, 6 year-old Briley, was knocked unconscious, feared dead. Briley was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but was upgraded to stable condition on Tuesday.

An unidentified 16-year-old girl was also injured in the fall.

All three girls are now awake and responsive.

"We could see their faces from the ground, and you could tell they were terrified, they knew something bad was going to happen," Jason described the moments when they realized something was wrong. "You could just see (Kayla) trying to grab for something to hold on to. It was horrible."

"They were trying their best to hold on, and then Kayla couldn't hold on anymore and started to drop. The whole crowd just gasped," Kimmee cried. "That whole reaction, I can just hear that in my head, over and over."

The Reynolds are calling for better standards for fairground safety.

"When you've got companies here that provide a service to the public, safety should be the priority," Jason Reynolds said.

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