Carnival secrets: Horror accidents on Aussie show rides revealed

Mike Duffy

Dodgem cars catching fire, safety harnesses failing and passengers falling from a Ferris wheel are just some of the ride mishaps Australian carnivals have kept quiet about.

In October, four people died on a ride at Dreamworld and now a 7 News investigation can reveal dozens of carnival rides have been investigated for accidents and flaws across Australia.

Most of them are never reported, but under freedom of information laws documents have been obtained that reveal the scale of the safety issues surrounding the rides.

In one case three passengers fell from a Ferris wheel in NSW, with one suffering a broken pelvis.

Untold carnival accidents have been revealed through freedom of information documents. Photo: 7 News

Government documents show a toddler was hit in the head with a spinning cup after slipping through a fence.

Another instance from 2015 saw a harness fail, throwing a passenger from a ride called Devil's Dance.

In 2014, another popular ride called the Zipper saw a girl needing to be airlifted to hospital after her head slammed against a cage door.

Late last year, a child was injured when an inflatable slide suddenly deflated, and another child was burned when a dodgem car caught fire.

In the last two years, 81 rides were given safety improvement notices but 17 were so dangerous they were closed down or good. Photo: 7 News

Ride engineer Morry Akbarian at Ruffle Carnival Rides, said there were many components that went into maintaining a ride.

"Rust is a danger but it depends on the advancement of it, nuts and bolts, things that tear, bearings, electrical components,” he told 7 News.

In the last two years, 81 rides were given safety improvement notices, but 17 were so dangerous they were closed down altogether.

Peter Dunphy from SafeWork NSW said rides had to be monitored regularly to make sure they were safe for carnival-goers.

"One serious incident can be quite catastrophic and that's why it's very important for us to ensure we're closely monitoring the safety of patients and the operators,” Mr Dunphy said.

Three passengers fell from this Ferris wheel in Liverpool, NSW. Photo: 7 News

But ride operator George Zacchini insists that accidents are few and far between.

“You've got more worries driving your car on the road through the day than you have coming here and riding on the amusement rides,” he said.

“It’s not supposed to be danger it’s supposed to be a fun thing,” Mr Akbarian added.