Lightwater Valley theme park: Boy in ‘rollercoaster fall’ critically ill

Child in fall at Lightwater ValleyImage copyright Simon Moran/Getty Images
Image caption The boy is being treated for head injuries in Leeds General Infirmary

A seven-year-old boy believed to have fallen from a rollercoaster is in a critical condition, police have said.

Witnesses said he fell from the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, on Thursday.

People reported hearing screams and seeing him “hanging backwards” from the carriage.

Police said the boy was taken to hospital with head injuries and was in a “critical but stable condition”.

He is being treated at Leeds General Infirmary.

North Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are investigating.

The theme park tweeted it was “devastated” by the news of the boy’s condition.

It added: “While the Health and Safety Executive investigation is continuing, we will support them and be guided by their advice.”

Eyewitness Mark Charnley said the boy was “hanging backwards outside the actual carriage”.

“Everybody started shouting to get the attention of the guy running the machine,” he said.

It is the second incident involving the same ride at the theme park.

In June 2001, 20-year-old Gemma Savage died when two of the rollercoaster’s cars collided.

Ms Savage, from Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorkshire, was on a day out with friends from Durham University, where she was studying medical sciences.

Image copyright Simon Moran/Getty
Image caption The boy was airlifted from the theme park on Thursday

Her mother, Linda Savage said she was “devastated” to hear about the boy being injured.

“Our thoughts go out to this little boy and his family,” she said.

“It’s unbelievable that this has happened on the same ride, 18 years on. Why wasn’t the ride shut down?

“It’s incredibly distressing for us in the run-up to the anniversary of Gemma’s death.

“We didn’t know the ride was still in operation. It should have been shut down permanently. It’s about time the whole place was closed down.

“We felt powerless then, and we feel powerless now. Our hopes and prayers go out to the little boy’s family, and we hope he makes a full recovery.”

The theme park’s owner, the manufacturers of the ride and an electrician were all later fined for health and safety breaches over Ms Savage’s death.

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