Investigation begins into fair ride accident

Police incident tape closes off the Jungle River 'log flume' ride on Bridlington seafront promenade, where a lady and a 4 year old child were injured in an accident on Sunday.  Pictures by Andrew Higgins  113508a   29/08/11
Police incident tape closes off the Jungle River 'log flume' ride on Bridlington seafront promenade, where a lady and a 4 year old child were injured in an accident on Sunday. Pictures by Andrew Higgins 113508a 29/08/11

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a seafront fair ride accident left a woman and her grandchild with serious injuries.

The 58-year-old South Yorkshire woman and her four-year-old grandchild were riding on the Jungle River log flume when their car came to an abrupt stop at the bottom of its steepest descent and tipped them out.

The woman was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary with what police described as “severe” leg injuries, while the girl was taken to Scarborough Hospital with lacerations to her leg.

She was later transferred to the Hull hospital.

Although serious, the woman’s injuries did not require her leg to be amputated, as some reports wrongly stated.

Onlookers described seeing “blood everywhere” and a 10-strong team of Bridlington Coastguard Search and Rescue volunteers were called in to control Bank Holiday crowds on the busy seafront area and clear a landing space in front of Leisure World for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which touched down at about 3.30pm on Sunday.

The Health and Safety Executive has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident and inspectors visited the Bayside Amusement Park on the seafront on Tuesday morning.

Park owner, Michael Harrison, said his first thoughts were about those who had been injured and he hoped they made a speedy recovery.

“There is a police and Health and Safety Executive investigation as to how the accident occurred. There is not much more I can say at the present time other than I am as anxious as everyone else to know what caused it,” said Mr Harrison.

He praised the work of the emergency services who dealt with the injured grandmother and her granddaughter.

“I also want to thank staff who did everything they could to help,” he said.

“We have a very good safety record on site. Nothing as serious as this has ever happened to us before.

“The industry is very strictly regulated. Safety checks are made at least once a year by independent engineers and by ourselves on a daily basis,” added Mr Harrison.

It is understood the ride does not have seatbealts and some witnesses claimed it had been “stopping and starting” throughout the day, though others argued this was normal for a ride of its nature and was actually a sign that its sensors were working properly.

The full details of the incident will not be known until the HSE has completed its investigation and a spokesman could not indicate how long that would take, saying only: “The HSE is aware of the incident and is investigating,” while a spokeswoman added: “These investigations can take months, if not years.”

This week the rest of the fairground was operating as normal while the Jungle River remained closed and its entrance cordoned off by police tape.