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September 15, 2011

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Teenager fell from moving fairground ride

A fairground attendant failed to carry out safety checks on a ride, despite warnings that a restraint bar had opened while the ride was in operation.

Selby Magistrates’ Court heard that Terry Reynolds was operating the Cliffhanger Miami Trip ride at Comanthorpe Carnival, near York, when a teenager fell out of the ride only seconds after it started moving. Riders sit in a row as the attraction takes them up, down and round at speed.

On 3 July 2010, one of the restraint bars on the ride partially opened but the passenger was able to hold the bar down, with help from people sat either side of her, until the ride came to a stop. Reynolds was told by another rider about the incident, but he made no effort to check for a fault.

Two rides later a 13-year-old girl was sat in the same seat where the fault happened, but Reynolds failed to check if the bar was securely locked in place before the ride started. Less than a minute after the ride started the bar partially opened, and the teenager slid through the gap and fell approximately four metres to the ground. She landed face-first on an area of concrete, which was located to the side of the ride. She did not suffer any serious injuries but was taken to hospital for treatment for cuts and bruises.

HSE inspector Julian Franklin attended the scene on the same day as the incident and took possession of the ride. A mechanical engineering specialist subjected it to rigorous tests, but he was unable to replicate the fault. It is believed, however, that the bar opened because an intermittent-locking pawl had become jammed and failed to engage.

Inspector Franklin told SHP that Reynolds should have checked the bars before the ride started, and he should also have regularly cleaned the intermittent-locking pawl. He said: “Mr Reynolds’ job was not difficult, but it was crucial, and had he been doing it properly, this would not have happened. His cavalier approach to safety could have cost the girl untold damage.€

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