Fairground operator prosecuted for ride collapse

A fairground operator has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after 22 people, many children, were trapped in a ride collapse.

All the passengers on the Surf Rider at Skegness Pleasure beach needed to be rescued by the fire service when the ride collapsed on 30th August 2011.

Seven people had to be taken to hospital and three of them were kept in overnight, but were allowed home the next day.

The incident was investigated by the HSE who found that the gearbox for the passenger car levelling mechanism failed due to a lack of oil. The bearing in the gearbox became so hot that it seized and jammed the mechanism. This resulted in several other components failing.

The passenger car then rotated on its axis and collided with the platform on the ride.

It came to a sudden halt at an angle of around 80 degrees.

David Kivlin, a HSE inspector, said that this was a frightening incident for many people and it could have easily been prevented.

There were specific instructions from the ride manufacturer and the gearbox manufacturer regarding the lubrication of the gearboxes. The incident occurred due to a lack of oil in the gearboxes.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co, says, “The ride operator had a duty to ensure that the ride was maintained in good working order. It is clear from the HSE investigation that they failed in this vital duty. As a result, many people were injured.”

Alice Thorne, 16, was trapped on the ride for more than an hour. She suffered neck, chest and leg injuries and has been affected psychologically. She has been left with a fear of heights and fairground rides.