NORWALK -- An 8-year-old boy who was injured in Sunday's amusement park accident at the Norwalk Oyster Festival was released from the hospital Monday, Norwalk police Lieutenant Paul Resnick said. The other 12 other patients who were transported to area hospitals were treated and released Sunday, he said.
David Barker, a building contractor from Stamford, said his 4-year-old son had been on a nearby ride when the accident happened.
In a phone interview Monday, Barker said he heard a strange noise about 30 seconds before the swing ride came to an abrupt halt.
"I felt it in my heart that something went wrong," he said. "I've never seen a large, heavy thing stop so suddenly."
He said other rides in the area slowly came to a stop over the next few minutes. Barker said he grabbed his son and led him away from the rides, trying to shield his son's eyes as emergency workers and parents converged on the injured children at the Zumur.
"I can imagine it's a horrible feeling," he said. "This is supposed to be a great time of your life here and it turns out to be something different."
In all, 18 people were injured when the swing ride malfunctioned Sunday. They didn't fall from the swings but instead were hurt when the ride abruptly stopped and the swings collided, the ride's owner said Monday.
"No one fell, and the ride never lost power,'' said Richard Stewart of Trumbull-based Stewart Amusements. "There was a malfunction in the drive assembly and we have contacted the manufacturer to see if they want to participate in the investigation.''
Police would not release the names of the injured.
The Zumur ride was purchased new in 1984, a year after his company was founded, Stewart said. "It is inspected every week, or every time it moves,'' he said. Inspections are done by members of the state fire marshal's staff, and the rides are licensed by the state Department of Consumer Protection, officials said.
Av Harris, spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said Monday that Stewart Amusements failed to file its annual report, with the accompanying $150 fee, which was due in March. "Technically they are in default, but there is no penalty," Harris said in a phone interview. "If they needed proof certifying their legal existence, they could not get it without filing the report."
Since its initial filing in March of 1983, the company never failed to file its annual report in February, March or April, according to the secretary of the state's website.
The Zumur ride has been released by State Police back to the company and is now in the Stewart Amusement's facility in Trumbull.
Police said the swing ride came to an abrupt halt about 2:15 p.m. Sunday, and witnesses recalled hearing two distinct bangs before the ride stopped.
Police Chief Tom Kulhawik said Norwalk police, Norwalk Fire and Norwalk Hospital EMS personnel were on duty at the festival and responded to the scene within seconds. He said the ride's participants, mostly children, were on the ground near the Zumur ride. Zumur is a "swing-type" ride in which seated participants swing out while the ride spins.
The chief said ambulances from Norwalk Hospital EMS and mutual-aid ambulances from Westport, New Canaan and Darien emergency medical services transported 13 patients -- 12 children and one adult -- to three area hospitals for further evaluation and treatment. Five people refused treatment at the scene.
No information was available on the identity of the injured riders or their specific injuries.
Norwalk Hospital received eight patients, seven of whom were treated and released, the chief said. One patient was admitted with non-life threatening injuries. Stamford Hospital received two patients, both of whom were treated and released. Bridgeport Hospital received three patients, all of whom were treated and released, Kulhawik said.
Police said the ride had been inspected, but that state inspectors and Connecticut State Police were called to the scene after Sunday's incident to determine what went wrong.
Carolyn Ripp, spokesperson for the Norwalk Seaport Association, sponsor of the festival, later issued a written statement saying the association initially told Stewart Amusements to shut down all rides at the festival following the accident. Ripp later said investigators gave the other rides an all-clear, and they went back into operation shortly after 6 p.m.
"Our first and only concern is for the well-being of those involved and their families," Ripp said. The festival closed at 8 p.m.