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3 fall from Ferris wheel at fair in Tennessee, police say

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Three people who fell 30 to 45 feet from a Ferris wheel in Tennessee were responsive and answering questions Monday night, police said.

The oldest of the three who fell from the ride at a county fairground is a 16-old-girl, according to Greeneville Police Detective Capt. Tim Davis.

Davis told CBS affiliate WJHL all three were riding in the same basket during the time of the incident. He said all rides would be shut down until a third-party inspector could come to Greeneville.

The detective told The Greeneville Sun officers were interviewing witnesses to determine what happened.

"We treat it like a crime scene until we determine there's no foul play," Davis said. "We don't know at this time what caused the accident."

The company that runs the midway will have 24 hours to file a report with state regulators and have a third-party safety inspection, he said.

All who fell were taken to a children's hospital in Johnson City -- two by helicopter and one by ambulance -- according to Greene County-Greeneville EMS Operations Director T.J. Manis.

Gregory Lynthacum, of Washington County, Tennessee told WJHL he saw three young girls fall from the ride when their car appeared to get caught as the wheel lifted them upward, spilling them out. "It was like watching water pouring from a glass," Lynthacum said. "They bounced off the metal bridging of the ride and eventually hit the ground."

Lynthacum said the girls' injuries appeared to be very serious.

He said the ride eventually stopped after people on the ground began screaming at the ride operators.

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