Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of Safety & Health Practitioner. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.
May 27, 2020

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Lightwater Valley Theme Park: HSE to prosecute after child rollercoaster fall

The HSE has informed Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd that it will be prosecuted after a seven-year-old boy was ejected from a Twister ride at its theme park in North Stainley, Ripon on 30 May 2019.

Following the investigation by HSE, Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd, of Sherborne, Dorset, will face a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE is currently liaising with Leeds Magistrates’ Court to fix a first hearing date.

North Yorkshire Police responded to a call at approximately 11:30am on Thursday 30 May and, a statement released at the time read: “The child was conscious when officers arrived at the scene and has been taken to hospital. His condition is not believed to be life threatening.

“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been notified.”

The venue confirmed the incident in a tweet at around 14:15, which read: “Following an incident on one of our rides this morning a child is receiving treatment at a local hospital. Emergency services have confirmed the child was conscious when they arrived & his condition is not believed to be life-threatening.”

Later that day, the theme park issued the following statement:

“We can confirm that following an incident on one of our rides this morning, a child is receiving treatment at a local hospital.

“We take the health and safety of our visitors very seriously and are committed to providing support to the affected family. We will continue working closely with the HSE and emergency services.

“The ride concerned will remain closed until a full investigation has taken place.”

On arrival at the hospital, the boy was said to be in a critical condition, but his condition started to improve.

In the days following the incident Ian Cunningham, Lightwater Valley’s Chief Executive, has apologised to the boy’s family. He said: “Everyone at Lightwater Valley Theme Park is very pleased to hear that the condition of the young boy who fell from our Twister ride is improving.

“As a father myself, I can imagine only too well how it must have felt for everyone involved when the incident happened, and in the hours since. Our thoughts and concerns are completely focused on the child and his family at this difficult time.

“I would like to say how sorry I am personally for the upset and anxiety that this incident has caused. We are committed to offering our full support to the family.

“Establishing the cause of the incident is now in the hands of the authorities — we are co-operating fully with the Health & Safety Executive investigation that is now underway.

“Until the investigation is complete it will be too early and inappropriate for us to speculate on any aspect of the incident, or answer any specific questions about it.”

Woman killed on same ride

In 2001, a 20-year-old woman was killed on the same ride when she suffered head and neck injuries as two carriages collided.

A hearing in 2004 heard that faulty wiring was to blame for the incident. The park’s owners and an electrician admitted breaching health and safety laws and were fined a total of £157,000.

In 2017, owners of Lightwater Valley were fined £40,000 after a girl suffered horrific injuries on one of its rides. The five-year-old suffered crushing injuries to her ankle after her leg was caught in a gap between the carriage and the edge of a disembarking platform on a children’s rollercoaster.

Earlier this month, SHP reported that a fairground ride inspector had been fined after he issued a safety certificate for a rollercoaster without ensuring he had a crucial safety report for it. The ride at M & D Theme Park subsequently derailed causing serios injury to those on board.

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