Officials at the Lexington Lions Club Bluegrass Fair are calling an incident Saturday night in which part of a 3-year-old child's pinkie finger was cut off on a ride "strictly an accident."
The injury happened about 9:30 p.m. Saturday on a fun house-like attraction called "Fun Zone" that fair spokesman Michael Kaplan described as more of an obstacle course than a ride.
"The part he hurt himself on was the beginning where you have to balance and spin on a disk-like thing," Kaplan said. "He just lost his balance." Everything on Fun Zone is balance-oriented, Kaplan said.
The ride was closed down "within minutes" of the accident, Kaplan said, even though fair officials weren't required to do so.
The state Department of Agriculture, which oversees ride safety at fairs, was notified of the accident, and officials inspected the ride early Sunday morning. No mechanical failures were found and the ride was said to be operating normally, Kaplan said. Late Saturday night, Kaplan had told the Herald-Leader that the state had inspected the ride before the fair opened July 14.
The ride was back up and running by 11:30 a.m. Sunday — the fair's last day — but its motorized or spinning parts were disabled, Kaplan said.
Kaplan described Fun Zone as one the safest rides at the fair, and he said it had no previous history of accidents or injuries. Rides at the fair are operated by Belle City Amusements of Deltona, Fla.
There isn't an age requirement for someone to go on the ride, but Kaplan said it's generally geared for children ages 3 and older. There are also no requirements for children to be accompanied by an adult when they go on the ride. Kaplan said he was unsure whether the injured child was accompanied by anyone.
The ride does have some safety precautions, Kaplan said, such as no running or jumping.
Kaplan said officials had no reason to believe the child was doing anything he wasn't supposed to do.
"The kid was being a kid and hurt himself," he said.
Lt. Edward Hart of the Lexington police department told the Herald-Leader on Saturday night that the top third of the child's finger was cut off. The boy, whose name was not released, was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital by firefighters Saturday night immediately after the accident.
Authorities could not be reached Sunday for an update on the child's condition.