Sisters say amusement ride restraint in Nanaimo failed to work properly


Two sisters in Nanaimo want to warn the public following a scary situation on an amusement park ride called “Speed.”

It happened Saturday at the Spring Fair outside Woodgrove Centre. The pair says one of their restraints was looser than it should’ve been, making for a terrifying ride that led to a seizure and an emergency visit to the hospital.

“Yeah, I was really scared,” said Fiona Titian in an interview with CHEK News.

They say they went on the ride around 8 p.m. It has four people seated on opposite sides of a 37-metre arm that rotates 360 degrees and up to 13 revolutions per minute.

After having restraints over their shoulders and across their stomachs checked by staff, the ride moved to let other people on. But Titian says that’s when she realized her restraint was looser than it should’ve been.

“So if we’re sitting, it came up to my neck at least,” said Titian.

The sisters then started yelling at the ride operator.

“I was trying to yell for them, but they wouldn’t stop it,” said Cherlynn Zarelli, Titian’s sister.

“It’s the type of ride where you go up and fling, and it’s like a super fast swing, and it flipped like six times, every time we turned, it came off not fully, but it came up to my head,” said Titian, who had marks on her hands from desperately trying to hold on.

“When we told them and we got off, they said that that was the second time it happened,” she said.

Minutes later, as they were about to report the incident at the information booth, Titian had a seizure — something she’s experienced before, but with recent medication, it’s been much more infrequent.

BC Ambulance took her to hospital for testing, and the girls’ parents say the incident was reported to the park operator and RCMP.

“I know police came, and they closed the ride, and the owner was here. They checked it out last night, and he called me back this morning. I came this morning to help out with inspecting it,” said Andrew Yaremy, an assistant manager at First Class Concessions.

The company that operates the rides says it did extensive testing Sunday morning.

“We tested all eight seats this morning, and the ride’s running perfectly the way it’s supposed to,” said Yaremy, who claims the ride “Speed” has never had safety issues in the past.

People started using the amusement park ride again by the afternoon. As for what happened the night before, Yaremy says he’s unsure as he hasn’t talked to the teen himself.

“It might have moved a little bit on her, and she’s a little bit smaller, a little thinner than some people, so maybe it just scared her a little bit, or I’m not sure,” he added.

The girls and their mother are adamant that something went wrong, saying they won’t be going on the ride again.

They also want the public to know about their experience as they’re still concerned about the ride’s safety.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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