'This is one of my biggest fears,' teen says after watching man die on Ohio State Fair ride

Posted at 11:29 AM, Jul 27, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Britney Neal, 16, watched one of her greatest fears come to life Wednesday night at the Ohio State Fairgrounds when a ride malfunctioned and killed a man.

"This is actually one of my biggest fears," the teen said. "I didn't actually think I'd ever have to witness it, especially right in front of me."

One person -- 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell of Columbus -- died and seven others were injured when a piece of a swinging and spinning ride snapped at the Ohio State Fair Wednesday. The injured were identified as Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg; Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus; Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus; Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala; Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus; Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus; and a 14-year-old male victim whose name will not be released.

State officials said the "Fire Ball" ride had been inspected earlier in the day before it "malfunctioned" at 7:24 p.m. A video posted online showed part of the ride breaking off mid-swing and throwing riders through the air.

RELATED: Video shows moment ride broke at Ohio State Fair

Neal and her younger sister, 13-year-old Kiley, said they ran away screaming when part of the ride snapped off and hit the pavement yards away from them.

"The whole row fell out -- we heard them hit the ground and everything," Kiley said. "We heard the emergency stop and everything. It was pretty scary."

The two sisters said, at first, everything was quiet.

"A total of three people were hitting the ground, I saw them all hit the ground," Britney said. "The passengers on the ride were completely silent, they didn't know, I think they were speechless."

RELATED: Authorities to do 'autopsy' on deadly fair ride

The girls' mom said they called her immediately, but she couldn't understand them over the phone.

"I knew something horrible had hapened, but I couldn't understand anything she was saying," Christy Neal said. "I wasn't sure if her sister was hurt, if she was hurt -- I just started to run towards that direction. I saw the cart missing, it was horrible. It was horrible until I got to put my arms around them and just hug them and thank God they were okay."

Watch the rest of the interview in the video player above.