NC Labor Commissioner: No fines anticipated for Carowinds

CHARLOTTE — North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson told Channel 9 that he doesn’t anticipate any fines for Carowinds over the cracked support beam on Fury 325.

Last week, Carowinds shut down the popular coaster after a visitor at the park discovered a crack in a support beam. Dobson says the investigation into how the crack formed remains ongoing.

“Because these things are so rare, they really are going to have to take some time to do some research to figure out the how,” Dobson said. “One of the things I want to focus on is prevention, and making sure that we do all that we’re supposed to do and all Carowinds is supposed to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”


Dobson says for incidents like this, a fine would typically be issued if Carowinds decided to reopen the ride without obtaining a new certificate of operation. Prior to issuing the new certificate of operation, Dobson says the Department of Labor will conduct a thorough inspection of Fury.

“We take a top-to-bottom visual look, we look literally at the nuts and bolts, we look at the electrical stuff, we look at training records, we look at safety devices that keep you in your seat,” he said. “We’ll be doing a full inspection.”

Dobson says he is pleased Carowinds is replacing the support column. He says there has been a “positive collaboration” between his department and the theme park.

“I’m confident that based on what Carowinds has shared with me is that they are looking at new and updated safety protocols on their end,” he said. “Before we issue a new certificate of operation, I told our guys on the ground, we need to be 100% comfortable with issuing a new certificate of operation. So we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that North Carolinians are safe when they go to the park.”

The crack in the support column was first discovered by Hickory resident Jeremy Wagner, who recorded and posted a video of it online. Since then, the video has been seen and shared around the world.

“I’ve been contacted from people from Rio de Janeiro, BBC, Austria, Italian reporters, Canada,” Wagner said.

Wagner says he recorded and posted the video with safety in mind.

“When I did that, I’m just like, ‘You know what? There’s gonna be deaths and injuries if this falls,’” he said.

Wagner says the expanded inspection protocol that Carowinds is promising is more important than any penalty.

He says he has no ill will toward the park. In fact, he plans to visit again next week with friends. Whenever Fury runs again, he says he’ll be on it.

“I’ll do it,” he said. “I’ve done it before so why not? Why not after it’s been fixed or repaired? It might even be in better shape after the fact.”

(WATCH: Carowinds shares timeline for repairing Fury 325 roller coaster)

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