The 18-year-old man killed Wednesday when a thrill ride broke apart at the Ohio State Fair had joined the Marines less than a week before the tragedy.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the lone person who was killed Thursday as Tyler Jarrell of Columbus. Seven others, who ranged in age from 14 to 42 years old, were injured when the Fire Ball ride malfunctioned and sent riders flying into the air.
The Marine Corps said in a statement that Jarrell, 18, enlisted on July 21 and wanted to be in the infantry or serve as a combat engineer. He was scheduled to attend basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. in June 2018.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Poolee Tyler Jarrell’s family and all of those affected by his loss,” the statement said. “The Marines here are greatly saddened by this tragedy. We are truly proud to have known him as one of the brave few willing to step up and serve his country in the United States Marine Corps.”
On Saturday, Jarrell’s local Marine Corps recruitment station posted to Facebook that he was the first senior from his high school to enlist into the Marine Corps this year.
“Give him one! Tyler Jarrell is the first senior from Franklin Heights high school to enlist into the United States Marine Corps this year. I’m proud to call him my brother,” the post read.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday promised a thorough investigation into what caused the thrill ride to send riders suddenly tumbling through the air.
Kasich said he didn’t want to speculate about whether inspectors may have missed something or if there was a mechanical failure.
“That’s a nightmare, a terrible situation,” Kasich told reporters, adding that state officials will do everything they can to make sure the fair is safe.
“I don’t have a message other than we’re going to do the best we can,” Kasich said.
The fair opened Thursday, but all the rides were shut down and will go through another inspection.
The Dutch manufacturer of the fairground ride involved in the accident, KMG, told The Associated Press in an email that the ride was built in 1998 in the Netherlands and that there are 43 such rides around the world, including 11 in the United States.
Bas Derkink told the AP the Ohio accident was the first such serious malfunction on one of the rides, and that KMG technicians are not involved in maintaining the Ohio ride.
Albert Kroon, of KMG, told Dutch National broadcaster NOS that the company was on the phone with rescuers to help them figure out how to free those still in the seats after the accident. Kroon said he was shocked by the accident, and that the company’s first priority was “freeing the injured people who were still in the seats.”
The deadly accident has spurred some other ride operators and fair officials to shut down similar rides until investigators figure out what went wrong.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.