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Woking fireworks: Eight children hurt in fall from inflatable slide

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Media captionCarl Baccus told the BBC that the slide looked dangerous and refused to let his children go on

Eight children have suffered “potentially serious” injuries after falling from an inflatable fairground slide at a fireworks display.

Woking Park in Surrey was evacuated as medics treated the injured.

Surrey Police declared a major incident after “a number of children fell from the slide” at around 19:30 GMT on Saturday, it said.

All of the patients have been taken to “major trauma centres” in London, one flown by air ambulance.

The site was evacuated at about 20:00 to allow the helicopter to land and “multiple crews” from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) to help the injured.

‘So dangerous’

Police initially described the incident as the collapse of a helter skelter ride, but corrected their report to describe it as a “giant inflatable slide” .

One parent told BBC Radio 5 Live that his five-year-old son asked to go on the slide when they arrived at the event, but he refused because it looked “so dangerous”.

He said he could see “at least 20” children on the slide and his “parental instinct” told him it was a bad idea.

One eyewitness told BBC News correspondent Simon Clemison there were “about 40 children” on the slide, which is around 30ft (9m) high when fully inflated.

Image copyright Andy Datson/Twitter
Image caption A firework event was due to take place before the children were injured

At first, Seacamb said it had treated six children but later confirmed the number was eight – although there is no official confirmation of their ages or their conditions.

The fireworks display was abandoned shortly after the children were injured.

Eyewitness Oliver Trimble told the BBC a message went over the event’s loudspeakers announcing the evacuation shortly before 20:00.

He said he saw victims being treated by medics, adding: “It was quite a horrendous sight to see.

“This is one of Woking’s biggest events of the year, thousands of people come to see the fireworks,” he said.

Local musician Anna Neale said she had planned to take her daughters, aged 10 and six, on the giant slide after the fireworks.

“We saw all the blue lights and saw the air ambulance arriving. We all evacuated very calmly. Everyone was just shocked,” the 36-year-old said.

Image copyright Andy Datson/PA
Image caption “Multiple crews” from South East Coast Ambulance Service were at the scene
Image copyright Andy Datson/Twitter
Image caption Police have launched an investigation into the incident

Event organisers Woking District Rotary Club tweeted: “We are all very shocked and distressed by events in the funfair”.

“We are focussing in assisting the emergency services in dealing with the injured children.

“Our thoughts are with the children and their families at the moment,” it added.

The park will remain closed on Sunday as police investigate the cause of the incident, the club added.

Officers have appealed for any eyewitnesses or those with video or photos of what happened to contact them.

Image copyright Oliver Trimble
Image caption Woking Park in Surrey was evacuated after following the collapse

Andy Datson tweeted: “Serious incident at Woking fireworks this evening. Whole park evacuated and event cancelled. Sounds like slide collapsed and children fell off.”

The 23-year-old, from Guildford, Surrey, said he saw up to 40 children playing on the attraction.

He said he watched the fireworks with friends before seeing “flashing lights”.

Joe Mercer, general secretary of the Showmen’s Guild, told the BBC: “This slide has up to date test certificates and insurance documents, these have been provided to police. Our members are fully co-operating with the authorities, no arrests have been made.”

He added: “Members of the Showmen’s Guild operate equipment at fairs to strict safety standards that are subject to HSE scrutiny. Our thoughts are with those affected by this incident.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We are aware and making initial enquiries.”


Have you been affected by the inflatable slide collapse? Tell us about your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46085445

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