Boy, seven, breathing independently after fall from rollercoaster
Boy, seven, who was critically injured when he fell form a rollercoaster last week is ‘improving’ and can now breathe on his own
- Seven-year-old boy critically injured on rollercoaster is breathing on his own
- Police also said his condition ‘continues to improve’ after suffering head injuries
- He was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where he was described as ‘critical’
- He had been on the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley, Yorkshire
- Witnesses say his mother was ‘screaming hysterically’ and he fell 15ft to 30ft
A seven-year-old boy who was critically injured after falling from a rollercoaster last week is breathing on his own again.
The youngster’s condition ‘continues to improve’, said North Yorkshire Police, following treatment for head injuries at Leeds General Infirmary.
He was airlifted to the hospital after plunging up to 15 feet from the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon, North Yorkshire, on Thursday.
In a statement the police said, following treatment at the scene, his condition was ‘initially believed to be non-life threatening’. However, when he was airlifted to hospital it was described as ‘stable but critical’.
Boy, seven, who was critically injured after falling from the Twister rollercoaster (pictured) is breathing on his own again in hospital
The youngster plunged 15-foot from the rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon, North Yorkshire. One witness said they saw his mother in hysterics, looking down on her child from the car above
Officers are assisting the Health and Safety Executive with their investigation, they added.
At the time, one witness said they heard a loud scream before seeing a child on the ground.
Another said the boy’s hysterical mother was left stuck in the car on the ride above.
Members of the public ran to his aid along with park staff before paramedics and an air ambulance arrived.
In a statement on Friday, Lightwater Valley said: ‘We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family’.
The police force said in a statement on Friday: ‘On arrival at hospital, the child was assessed and found to have injuries that would not have been apparent at the scene of the incident.
He is receiving treatment for head injuries at Leeds General Infirmary hospital (Pictured)
Mr Philo and an off-duty police officer were among the first two people to come to the boy’s aid after he fell from the ride
‘The child remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.’
On Thursday, it emerged hero father Jon Philo jumped over a barrier to help and was pictured alongside an off-duty police officer checking on the child.
Mr Philo, who was at the resort with his son, said that he would not forget ‘the scary sight’ after coming across the seven-year-old, who he said had facial injuries.
He added that the injured boy’s mother was stuck on the ride and screamed as she looked down at her son.
The seven-year-old was motionless when Mr Philo arrived at the scene but he was later told that the boy didn’t suffer life-threatening injuries and was alert when he arrived at hospital.
Mr Philo told MailOnline: ‘I was the guy wearing the red-hooded top whom got to the scene first after jumping the barrier along with an off-duty police officer.
‘We were both obviously shocked at what we saw and were immediately concerned with how the boy was, as he was motionless when I got there.
‘I would like to say the speed in which the emergency services swarmed to the scene was amazing and all did their job brilliantly and the off-duty officer and another lady, whom was constantly updating the boys mum (whom was stuck on the ride) were both truly legendary.’
Mr Philo pictured with paramedics as they attend to the boy who fell from the roller coaster at Lightwater Valley
Taking to Facebook, Mr Philo added: ‘Maxwell (his son) and I tried out the Lightwater Valley Theme Park [and were] queuing for the twister rollercoaster ride when we both witnessed a young boy get thrown about 30 feet from the ride.
‘Shocking scenes but I had no other thought than to jump over the fences and climb over the rollercoaster tracks with the coaster still in motion to be the first one on the scene.
‘I was followed by an off duty police officer and we were shocked at what we saw. The boy had facial injuries, which I wont forget in a hurry, he had also been recently released from hospital.
‘My first thought however after seeing him was not good, as he was motionless. Very scary moment. I have to say, the off-duty officer and his wife whom helped were amazing and the staff that eventually arrived did their bit.
‘I was however very proud of my boy for helping the paramedic guide the air ambulance where to land and his patience whilst I was with the boy for over an hour.’
It comes 18 years after Durham University student Gemma Savage, 20, died when two cars collided on the same Twister ride, which was then called Treetop Twister.
Mark Charnley, 46, who was visiting from his home in Cumbria with his wife Clare, 42, and two daughters, said the boy was hanging out of the back of the ride.
He said: ‘Me and my eldest daughter were in the queue for the Twister ride, which is like a rollercoaster but with individual spinning carriages.
‘We were about ten minutes from the front of the queue when we saw the little lad hanging out of the back of his carriage.
In June 2001, student Gemma Savage died when two cars collided on the Twister ride
‘His head was well behind the back of it and he was out of his restraints. He was in the carriage with his mum, who was screaming hysterically.
‘Everyone in the queue was shouting for the ride operator to stop the ride for about ten to 15 seconds but they didn’t seem to have noticed. Then the boy must have fallen about 15ft.
‘We jumped over the barrier to try and help and one man identified himself as an off-duty police officer and he sort of took over.’
Lara-Susan James, who had just joined the queue for the rollercoaster with her children, said a group were shouting at the operator to stop the ride.
She said: ‘It was at that moment I realised something was wrong. I saw the operator apply the emergency stop. My husband pointed to the fallen kid on the ground, saying they had fallen out.
‘When the ride stopped, the family jumped the barriers and went to the kid. I ushered our kids away as I don’t want them to hear or see any more.’
Earlier, Simon Moran, a father visiting the park, tweeted: ‘Just saw a kid fall off the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley. Ride shut down. Ambulance called.’
The boy was injured but airlifted to a nearby hospital in a non life-threatening condition
An aerial view of the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire
Photographer Mr Moran, who works in content development for Getty Images, added: ‘He mustn’t have been strapped in right, or too small for ride.
My son was ‘given the option’ of a safety belt, says police officer
A police officer who visited Lightwater Valley theme park yesterday said his 10-year-old son was ‘given the option’ of whether to put a safety belt on when riding the Twister rollercoaster.
Jimmy Cowan, 43, said there was a bar that came down over him, his son and his son’s friend when they sat on the ride – but the seatbelts were ‘optional’.
The father from Manchester said: ‘I went to Lightwater Valley with my son and his friend yesterday. On the Twister ride there was a bar that came down over us and also something like a car seat belt to go around us.
‘The attendant there told us the belts were optional, so we didn’t have to put them around us if we didn’t want to. Obviously I clipped my son in and if I hadn’t he’d have been sliding all over the cart. I find it really odd they have belts there but still give people the option to wear them, why not make it compulsory?’
Mr Cowan added: ‘When I saw what happened on the ride today my stomach turned. Your mind starts racing and thinking of what could have happened. It’s such a sad situation.’
Mr Cowan said he saw attendants on the Twister ride turning two children away because they didn’t meet the height requirements.
‘As it went down the fast bit towards the ‘souvenir’ camera, he slid out and over top of carriage. Fell face down about 20 to 30 feet to ground. ‘
Mr Moran posted a series of photographs of visitors at the park, which has more than 35 rides, watching as paramedics arrived in an air ambulance.
The park’s website states that passengers must be more than 1.5m (4ft 11in) to ride Twister unaccompanied, and more than 1.2m (3ft 11in) if they are with an adult.
The park’s pricing is based on height rather than age, with restrictions posted at the entry gate and on each ride entrance.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said yesterday: ‘Police were called to reports of a medical incident involving a child at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon at 11.30am.
‘The child, a seven-year-old boy, who was conscious when officers arrived at the scene, has been taken to hospital.
‘His condition is not believed to be life threatening. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been notified. Officers remain at the scene.’
A spokesman for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance added: ‘I can confirm that we attended and transported a child to Leeds General Infirmary’.
And a Yorkshire Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘Yorkshire Ambulance Service received an emergency call just before 11.30am this morning to an incident involving a child at Lightwater Valley Theme Park, Ripon.
‘A rapid response vehicle, an ambulance and an air ambulance were dispatched to the scene and the patient was flown to hospital for further care.’
The air ambulance is pictured airlifting the boy who allegedly fell from the rollercoaster
The Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon is pictured today
Police attended the theme park in North Yorkshire at around 11.30am this morning
Mr Moran tweeted: ‘Just saw a kid fall off the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley’
Lightwater Valley (pictured today) attracts 500,000 visitors a year, and was founded in 1969
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they attended, while the Health and Safety Executive said it was aware. The cause of the accident is not yet known.
A Lightwater Valley spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that 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 at the scene and his condition is not believed to be life threatening.
‘The ride remains closed at the current time but the rest of the park is still open.’
The spokesman later added: ‘We can confirm that Health and Safety Executive (HSE) personnel are now on-site and we are assisting them as required.
‘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.’
Paramedics arrived at the theme park in North Yorkshire in an air ambulance today
Simon Moran, a father visiting the park, tweeted a series of pictures of the scene
Paramedics attend to a boy who allegedly fell from the rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley
Visitors watch on as an air ambulance arrives at Lightwater Valley theme park
In June 2001, Miss Savage, of Wath upon Dearne, South Yorkshire, died when two cars collided on the same Twister ride, which was then called Treetop Twister.
Five years later, French firm Reverchon Industries SA was found guilty of breaches of health and safety law after the death of the 20-year-old student.
It was convicted of failing to ensure safe design and construction, and failing to give information necessary to ensure the ride was safe when open to the public.
Leeds Crown Court heard in 2006 that a wiring fault, which should have been found during the quality control testing process, meant the control system was not safe.
A decade later at the park in July 2016, carer Paul Marshall saved a man in his 50s with learning difficulties from falling 85ft from the Black Pearl pirate ship ride.
He grabbed hold of the unnamed man’s wrists to stop him falling after a safety bar on his seat appeared to open as the ship ride tipped at its highest point.
And in 2015, a teenage theme park worker spoke of her terror after a colleague activated the ride as a joke while she checked it and she had to cling on for her life.
A file picture of the Nineties girl band Honeyz who opened the Twister ride in May 2001
The Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley theme park is pictured in this file photograph
Lightwater Valley, which attracts around 500,000 visitors a year, gives the following description for the ride on its website: ‘The track is full of seriously tight turns, giving riders the impression that they might not make it around the next corner, with the threat of plummeting into the treetops being a constant source of tension for parents (and amusement for the kids).
‘With serious amounts of anticipation, tight turns and swift drops, watch out for the ride cars unhooking on the lower level as the spinning steps up a gear.’
The park, which was founded in 1969 by Robert Staveley and initially evolved from a small farm attraction, bills itself as the ‘ultimate family adventure’ on its website.
‘With over 35 rides and attractions for thrill seekers of all ages, Lightwater Valley is bursting with young, family fun and thrill adventures for the whole family,’ it says.
A section describing the rides and attractions adds: ‘Spin through the air in the grip of the Eagle’s Claw, hurtle through deep, dark forests aboard Europe’s longest roller coaster The Ultimate and venture into the underground world of Raptor Attack.
‘See the park from a whole different viewpoint aboard Black Pearl and then hop on Apollo and take a spinning ride above the tree tops.’
** Were you at Lightwater Valley? Please email [email protected] **
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