NC Ride Operator Charged With Assault With Deadly Weapon

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A ride operator at the fair died in 2002 when he was struck by the ride while it was still in operation, The Associated Press reported.

The North Carolina Labor Department told ABC News the Vortex is supposed to be inspected for safety three times during the annual fair.

"They will be looking at the diagnostics, all the safety systems and any piece of that ride to determine if it was indeed a malfunction of the ride," Labor Department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said.

The fair is expected to reopen today as scheduled, Long said in the press release. The fair is scheduled to end Sunday, according to its website.

"The ride was manufactured by Technical Park International of Italy. This is the first time this Vortex ride has been at the N.C. State Fair," according to the release. "There are two Vortex rides on the fairgrounds. The other Vortex, located on the new midway, has been on site for many years and is manufactured by Fabbri of Italy."

The association that represents carnival operators told ABC News that Americans took more than 1 billion rides a year and that each year 13,000 people were injured and visited an emergency room.

That's a higher rate than at theme parks, which see 1.7 billion riders and just 9,200 injuries.

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