Survivors speak of tragedy at fun-fair: Steel hoop 'had collapsed into path of Water Chute car'

ONE of the survivors of yesterday's accident at a South Wales amusement park said he saved himself from serious injury by ducking below the collapsed lighting gantry.

Raymond Verral, 17, had been sitting at the front of the open top car on the Water Chute ride at Coney Beach fairground, Porthcawl with his friend David Morgan, 15.

He said they realised something was wrong when they saw the horrified faces of people on the ground below. 'Then we spotted the steel hoop which had already collapsed and was in the path of the car. We ducked and it whistled straight over our heads but the others behind must have failed to notice it.

'When we got down and stopped I looked around and there was just blood everywhere,' he said.

Timothy Morgan, nine, was flung clear of the Water Chute ride and died at the scene. He had been sitting with his father Christopher, 46, at the back of the six-seat carriage.

Raymond, who knows the Morgan family from attending the Church of Latter Day Saints in Cardiff with David, said he was asked to join the family outing yesterday morning. The dead boy's mother, Theresa, and sister Sally had decided not to go on the day out.

Detective Superintendent John Williams of South Wales police, said that the Water Chute had been checked less than two weeks ago, and its owner had thought the ride safe to operate yesterday despite the wet and windy conditions. He said it would be 'very presumptuous' to say if the weather had played a part before accident investigators had examined the site.

Health and safety officials are due to return to the fairground this morning to begin their inquiries, and to examine the ride's maintenance records. The Water Chute will remain closed until their checks are completed.

A voluntary code of practice operated by the Health and Safety Executive and the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain stipulates that rides should be examined by an independent engineer every 14 months. Local authorities must also be satisfied on safety grounds before they will issue licences.

'We are responsible for general fairground safety, including the running of fairgrounds and the suitability of people to run an operation, but the safety of individual rides. . .is regulated on a voluntary basis,' an HSE spokeswoman said.

'Each piece of machinery has to be given the all-clear by an independent engineer, not appointed by the fairground owners, to the satisfaction of the Showmen's Guild. Our inspectors check safety further and there is also a local authority involvement.'

Fairground owners must insure rides, but there is no obligation to display a certificate of worthiness. An HSE report three years ago concluded that people were more likely to be injured as a result of drunken antics and badly trained attendants than from dangerous machinery. Of 55 accidents notified to the HSE in 1990, only two were caused by equipment failure.

In its study, the HSE found that people taking 10 fun-fair rides stand one chance in a million of being killed and were more likely to have an accident in their car on the way to the fairground.

In the past 10 years, at least 10 people have died and more than 560 been injured on fairground rides. Between 1981 and 1988 there were 220 serious injuries and 23 deaths. In 1985 there were six deaths.

Twelve people were injured when two rollercoaster carriages collided at Blackpool last August. In September 1992, a girl aged five was killed when she was thrown from a rollercoaster in Margate, Kent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkClue: You'll either love them or you'll hate them
News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
News
newsIf you're India's Narendra Modi, it seems the answer is a pinstripe suit emblazoned with your own name
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project