ANGER has erupted as a theme park where a seven-year-old boy fell from a rollercoaster stayed open as he fights for his life in hospital.
The schoolboy suffered head injuries after falling 15ft from the Twister ride at Lightwater Valley theme park yesterday, with police confirming his condition had deteriorated overnight.
A woman believed to be his mother was seen “screaming hysterically” as he hung backwards out of the carriage before plummeting to the ground.
The 1.5mile Ultimate rollercoaster was closed immediately after the incident and has not reopened.
But concerned Twitter users have blasted the theme park in Ripon, Yorks., for not closing completely until the investigation has concluded.
One referred to the closure of Alton Towers after the Smiler rollercoaster crash in 2015 that left four people with serious leg injuries.
Jack wrote: “This was an awful accident out of respect should you not close the theme park till further notice and the correct procedures have taken place[.]”
Chris Pearson added: “Awful response. Didn’t Alton towers close for quite a while after Smiler. Worried about losing half term income maybe?”
This was an awful accident… out of respect should you not close the theme park till further notice and the correct procedures have taken place
Twitter user Jack
Their remarks came after the theme park released an updated statement this afternoon, saying: “We have been informed by North Yorkshire Police that the medical condition of the child involved in the incident at the park yesterday is now described as critical.
“We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family. While the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation is continuing, we will support them and be guided by their advice.”
TRAGEDIES AT FUN PARK
Emergency services yesterday rushed to Lightwater Valley after reports a young boy had fallen 15ft from a ride.
But the horror fall isn’t the first time authorities have been scrambled to the popular fun park.
The North Yorks park was opened in 1969, thanks to Robert Staveley and his wife Lynne.
But tragedy unfolded in June 1980, when two rowing boats containing young farmers from Scotland collided.
Six people swam to safety but 21-year-old Kenneth Baird was pulled from the water unconscious. He later died.
In 1989, a 17-year-old boy who had been working at the park became partly paralysed when he was crushed under a ride called the Swinging Gym.
Then in 1991, five people were taken to hospital with whiplash injuries after one of the trains on the world’s longest rollercoaster, Ultimate, collided with another.
The ride was again involved in a terrifying incident in 1994 when an axle broke as it was carrying 38 passengers at a speed of 68mph.
In another tragedy, 20-year-old Gemma Savage died when two carriages collided on the Treetop Twister in 2001.
An investigation later found faulty wiring had caused the malfunction, with a coroner ruling her death as by misadventure.
In 2012, a five-year-old girl’s leg became trapped while on a rollercoaster.
The attraction was fined £40,000 after Lucy Hibbert, from New Zealand, had her leg and foot trapped between the platform edge and carriage on the Ladybird ride.
And in another incident, a man narrowly escaped death when the safety bar for his seat on a Black Pearl Ride sprang open in 2016.
The 55-year-old man, who has learning difficulties, only survived thanks to his carer holding onto his wrist.
‘LESSONS HAVE NOT BEEN LEARNT’
The boy was initially believed to be six, but police have since confirmed he is seven.
The incident comes 18 years after Durham University student Gemma Savage, 20, died when two carriages collided on the same Twister ride.
Her mum today revealed her devastation at the little boy’s injuries, telling the Telegraph: “Lessons clearly have not been learnt”.
Fuming Twitter user Beth also commented: “It breaks my heart for that little boy at lightwater valley.
“That ride should have been demolished the first time someone died on it.
That ride should have been demolished the first time someone died on it
Twitter user, Beth
“Not wait until the next time something happens. Imagine nearly losing your child because of POOR health and safety checks. Just shocking.”
Eyewitnesses yesterday recounted their horror at seeing the schoolboy plunge from the ride.
Hero dad Jon Philo was among the first to run to help the boy – saying: “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.
“My first thought however after seeing him was not good, as he was motionless. Very scary moment.”
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According to the most recent official figures, the park attracted 315,000 visitors in 2015.
Lightwater Valley – which was sold to Livingstone Leisure in 2017 – has more than 30 rides and attractions for all ages.
The park’s website describes the Twister as: “An awesome, fun-packed experience for all the family, with passengers boarding a strange waltzer-shaped ride car and heading on an epic ascent to the treetops!”