COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It was easily the most horrifying moment of 19-year-old Abdihakim Hussein and 20-year-old Hannah Sallee’s life. The young couple went to the Ohio State Fair together Wednesday evening with some friends. The first thing they did was get in line for The Fire Ball.
Hussein and Salle said they didn’t start fearing for their lives until they noticed they were getting closer and closer to the ground with each swing of the ride.
“I’m sitting there scared, trying to get off and it’s still swinging,” said Hussein. “I’m looking at the dude like, ‘Are you going to stop this?’ And he didn’t know what he was doing, just clicking the button, afterwards he just ran.”
Hussein said debris flying off the ride hit half of his body, barely missing Sallee who was sitting right next to him.
“It went high all the way up in the sky and then came back and when it was coming back it was too close to the ground and then it did it again one more time and that’s when it just hit the ground and then it just flew off and the pieces it hit me, too,” said Hussein, who was listed as one of the eight injured on the ride.
He said it felt like he was about to die.
“My whole life just flashed in front of me because I didn’t know. It kept going, too, once it broke off. It kept going, so we were scared because it could be us next,” said Hussein.
Sallee said she also helped another young female get off the ride and is still concerned for her well-being.
“I was just at a loss for words. I was just in shock. I didn’t really know what to say and then he started seizing out and I’m just like, ‘What do I do?’ I’m trying to help him. What could I do for him?” said Sallee. “They were saying yesterday, ‘Oh, I don’t know how this happened. The rides got double inspected,’ and apparently they did not because I just don’t know how did that happen if they get inspected double, triple? That’s unacceptable.”
Hussein said half of his body went numb after being struck by debris, then he had a seizure. The last thing he remembers is being taken away in the ambulance. Doctors later told him he had a small fracture on the back of his neck and that he might need surgery. Medical staff tried to keep him overnight at the hospital, but Hussein made the decision to go home late Wednesday.
“I can never go back to a fair again ever in my life and that was my first time going there,” he said. “It was terrifying.”
Sallee and Hussein said tonight they’re counting their blessings. They were originally seated on the part of the ride that fell off mid-air.
“That was us at the seat first, so if we never changed seats. It would have been us dead,” said Hussein. “Knowing somebody else died hurts, because everybody’s life matters.”