The UK closes down high-speed theme park rides after the fatal Ohio State Fair accident

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Five high-speed rides in UK theme parks have been closed after a man died on a similar attraction at a fairground in the US state of Ohio. An 18-year-old man died and seven others were critically injured after a ride called Fire Ball malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair on 26 July.

Several people were sent flying to the ground after the pendulum ride, which consists of six spinning seats, broke apart while 40 feet above the floor. Shocking footage showed a carriage on the ride breaking near the bottom of the pendulum swing and people being thrown up in the air as it rose again.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has ordered the temporary closure of several similar attractions in the UK while their safety measures are reviewed.

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The five rides are in the theme parks in Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire, Pleasurewood Hills in Suffolk, Coney Beach in South Wales, Brean Theme Park in Somerset, and at a funfair owned by Joseph Manning in Hertfordshire.

A spokeswoman for HSE said that all the rides had been "thoroughly inspected within the last 12 months" and that the cause of the fatal accident in Ohio was not yet known.

As a result, HSE had ordered for similar rides to temporarily be taken out of use. "We will take such action as is necessary to ensure the rides are inspected and tested as necessary to ensure safety," she said.

A spokesman for Lightwater Valley theme park told customers that the ride called Eagle's Claw had been closed "due to circumstances beyond our control".

He stressed that there were "significant differences" between Eagle's Claw and Fire Ball in Ohio, but added that the park would support HSE's decision. "We were deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the tragic accident in the US and our thoughts go out to the families of those concerned," he said.

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