Cause of death released after Sky Ride accident

TULSA, OKLA. — Quick facts:

  • A man died after he and another were found hanging from a ride at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
  • The two were doing maintenance repairs when their equipment failed.
  • Both men were brought to the ground Saturday morning.


The Tulsa Fire Rescue Crews were called to rescue two men hanging from the Sky Ride at the Tulsa Fairgrounds around 10:10 a.m. Saturday.

Tulsa fire officials told FOX23 the men were doing maintenance repairs on the Sky Ride when their equipment failed and they were left hanging 90 feet above ground by their harnesses.

Witnesses stated that they even saw the two men's safety baskets come crashing down.


As Tulsa's rescue crews arrived, they found Steve Shelton appeared to be unconscious from a traumatic head injury.

Stan May with Tulsa fire said that worker was "possibly injured by part of the maintenance platform or bucket they were working out of when it fell."

FOX23 was on scene rescue crews used a lift to bring Shelton and Michael Record down.


Officials said the men were hanging from their harnesses for about 35 minutes before being brought down from the ride.

Tulsa's rescue crews told FOX23 that the most time consuming part of the rescue was gaining access to the site, but the actual rescue was very quick.

Both men were brought to the ground just after 10:45 a.m.

Shelton suffered cardiac arrest as he was lowered to the ground.

He was transported to the hospital in critical condition, Record in fair condition.

Fire officials say Shelton died later Saturday. The medical examiner said the cause of death was complications of cervical spine fractures.

He was survived by a wife and daughter, as well as an unborn son.

Expo Square officials released a statement concerning the incident:

“An accident occurred on Saturday morning during routine maintenance of the Sky Ride. The incident involved the work platform, which is utilized to service and inspect the ride components. The Sky Ride was not in operation during the time of the incident, and did not involve any patrons or Ride Gondolas. The accident involved two workers employed by DMC Tulsa, LLC (DMC), an Oklahoma limited liability company with its business offices located in Wisconsin, and is the current Sky Ride Lessee and Operator. Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority (TCPFA) and DMC, are working in full cooperation with public safety officials.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this time."

OSHA is investigating the incident, and a fairgrounds spokesperson said the accident did not have anything to do with the Sky Ride, but it was caused by a work platform the men were using.

The OSHA investigation could take up to six months.

The spokesperson did not say whether the ride will be open for the fair.

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