Leisure operator fined after ride collapses

Fairground operator fined for ride collapse  25581

The operator of a fairground ride in Skegness has been fined after it collapsed on top of nearly two dozen people.

Pleasure Beach Amusements, which ran the Surf Rider attraction, was found by investigators at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be liable for the accident.

The ride was fully loaded, with 22 people - many of them children - on board when the leisure accident took place.

Skegness Magistrates' Court heard that the attraction was in operation when the passenger car levelling mechanism failed, causing it to rotate on its axis and collide with the platform. 

The HSE found that a gearbox for the mechanism did not have enough oil and a bearing inside the equipment became so hot, it seized and jammed part of the Surf Rider's inner workings.

This caused several other components to fail, with one of the cars colliding with a the ride's platform, which led to a collapse of the structure surrounding the attraction.

While some escaped unharmed from the incident, seven had to be taken to hospital, but all made quick, full recoveries.

But because of its poor maintenance of the ride, Pleasure Beach Amusements was taken to court, where it pleaded guilty  breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was told to pay £16,000 in fines and costs.

Speaking after the trial, HSE inspector David Kivlin said: "This was a frightening incident for many people that day and it could have been easily prevented. There was just not enough oil in the gearboxes."

Alice Thorne, 16, was trapped in on the device for more than an hour when it collapsed and alleges the incident has caused her to have a fear of heights and fairground rides.

"The day [after the incident] I woke up in agony and could not move my shoulder and neck. My neck pain lasted a couple of months and affected my dancing. I've also been having nightmares about the incident."

By Chris Stevenson