Hero dad’s horror at finding ‘motionless’ boy, 6, with face injuries after 30ft rollercoaster plunge

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A SIX-year-old boy suffered horror facial injuries after plunging 30ft from a rollercoaster, according to a hero dad to rushed to help.

Jon Philo feared the worst after finding the boy lying “motionless” after he fell from the Twister ride at Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire.

Jon Philo, pictured far left, rushed to help after the six-year-old boy plunged from a rollercoaster
Getty – Contributor

Jon Philo, pictured far left, rushed to help after the six-year-old boy plunged from a rollercoaster[/caption]

The dad feared the worst after finding the boy lying motionless
The dad feared the worst after finding the boy lying motionless

He said he won’t forget the “scary sight” after arriving first on the scene yesterday and seeing the boy’s injuries.

The dad was queuing for the ride with his own son when he saw the six-year-old being thrown 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,” he wrote on Facebook.

“I was followed by an off duty police officer and we were shocked at what we saw.

The youngster is said to have fallen off Lightwater Valley’s Twister ride on Thursday morning
The six-year-old boy was seen “falling 30ft” from the Twister ride this morning

“The boy had facial injuries, which I won’t forget in a hurry.

“My first thought however after seeing him was not good, as he was motionless. Very scary moment.”

He later added: “Such an awful site when I got there, and thinking the worst.”

Mr Philo waited with the boy for more than an hour and said his own son even helped the paramedic guide the air ambulance where to land.

He revealed the boy was “alert” when he arrived at hospital and did not suffer life threatening injuries.

Other shocked witness have recalled how the boy fell “face first” after sliding out from the rollercoaster carriage.

The boy’s mum is said to have “screamed hysterically” after seeing her six-year-old son dangling from the rollercoaster before plunging to the ground.

Simon Moran, a dad who was visiting the park today, tweeted: “Just saw a kid fall off the Twister rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley.

“He mustn’t have been strapped in right, or too small for the ride.

“FELL 30FT”

“As it went down the fast bit towards the ‘souvenir’ camera, he slid out and over the top of the carriage.

“Fell face down about 20/30ft to the ground.”

It comes 18 years after Durham University student Gemma Savage, 20, died when two carriages collided on the same Twister ride.

Cops and the ambulance service rushed to the scene and the ride was shut down following the shocking incident during half term.

The young boy was transported to Leeds General Infirmary and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Passengers are strapped into the ride by a lap bar and one witness said he saw the boy was outside of the restraints.

He’d obviously got himself out of his restraint somehow and seconds after that he actually fell out of the actual carriage to the floor.


Witness Mark Charnley, 46

A police officer who went on the ride yesterday claimed he and his son were “given the option” to wear an extra safety belt.

Mark Charnley, 46, was at the park with his wife and two daughters when he saw the boy hanging backwards from the carriage as his mum “screamed hysterically”.

He told Sky News: “I was in the queue for a ride called Twister with my 10-year-old daughter.

“We looked up and saw a young lad he was hanging backwards outside of the actual carriage.

“He’d obviously got himself out of his restraint somehow and seconds after that he actually fell out of the actual carriage to the floor.

“I actually lost sight of him and I couldn’t see him after that because there was mechanical electrical equipment in the way, I lost him after that.


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“Everybody in the queue started shouting to the operator of the ride to shut it down because he hadn’t actually noticed what had gone on.

“Maybe 10, 12 seconds after that he actually realised what had happened to close the machine down.

“People in the queue where I was actually started diving over, two guys actually dived over the barriers to get to the lad who was on the floor.”

He added: “He was in the carriage with his mum, who was screaming hysterically.”

In 2001, Durham University student Gemma Savage, 20, died after a collision on the same Twister ride.

Everybody in the queue started shouting to the operator of the ride to shut it down because he hadn’t actually noticed what had gone on.


Mr Charnley

Two years ago, the park was fined £40,000 after a five-year-old girl suffered horrific injuries when her leg became trapped on its Ladybird ride.

The girl’s leg became trapped between the platform edge and the carriage in June 2012.

She had been visiting her family in North Yorkshire after travelling from her home in New Zealand.

The girl suffered ligament, cartilage and nerve damage.

In 2014, a deer was killed after being hit by the park’s Ultimate ride – the longest in Europe.

According to 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.

STUDENT DIED

Its signature ride, the 1.5mile Ultimate rollercoaster, is still the longest in Europe.

Livingstone Leisure also owns Birdland Park and Gardens in the Cotswolds and the Flambards Theme Park near Helston, Cornwall.

On its official website, it says that passengers must be over 1.5m to ride on the coasters unaccompanied or over 1.2m if accompanied by an adult.

The Twister ride has been closed but the rest of the park remains open.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police were called to reports of a medical incident involving a child at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon at 11.30am today.


“The child, a 6-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.”

Lightwater Valley said in a statement: “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. We will issue an update as soon as we have any more information.”

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TRAGEDIES AT FUN PARK

Emergency services today rushed to Lightwater Valley after reports a young boy had fallen 30ft 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 became 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.

Getty – Contributor

Paramedics rushed to the boy’s aid after he apparently fell off Lightwater Valley’s Twister ride[/caption]

Police officers rushed to the scene on Thursday morning
SWNS:South West News Service
University student Gemma Savage, pictured, died when she was crushed on the same Lightwater Valley Twister ride 18 years ago
SWNS:South West News Service
An air ambulance arrived at Lightwater Valley theme park following reports a youngster had fallen from the Twister ride just after 11.30am
The young boy, six , was airlifted to hospital this morning
@sirimo
The six-year-old boy was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary following the incident
Getty – Contributor
Emergency crews rushed to the site following reports a boy had fallen from the Lightwater Valley theme park Twister ride
SWNS:South West News Service
Stunned families and children watched on as the air ambulance arrived to treat the injured boy

Lightwater Valley

The boy is said to have fallen 30ft from the Lightwater Valley theme park Twister ride, pictured[/caption]

The Twister ride was closed yesterday after the little lad’s fall
SWNS:South West News Service
The child was flown to hospital in a helicopter
PA:Press Association

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