21 November, 2019
In 2017, a schoolgirl died after sustaining chest injuries when she fell from the Splash Canyon water ride whilst visiting Drayton Manor theme park.
At the inquest, the jury delivered a verdict of "Accidental Death". The BBC reported that the inquest was told she had been standing up and "reaching into the water", which was a breach of the park's rules, before she was "propelled" from the boat. CCTV footage showed her wading back towards her friends before climbing an "algae-covered travellator" and then falling off into a "much deeper" section of water. Staff spotted her face down in the water about 11 minutes later. Jurors were told the emergency stop button for the rapids ride was not pressed for 10 minutes after staff were informed a child was in the water. CCTV only covered half of the ride and there was no opportunity to rewind the footage.
According to Charles Curtis who represented the family of Evha Janath, the Coroner is to send Prevent Future Death reports to all theme parks in the UK who run this type of water ride, to raise concerns regarding "instructions given to passengers on the ride, monitoring of the ride, water rescue training and the absence of rescue equipment".
The ride remains closed following the accident and the theme park told the coroner that the ride would not re-open without the consent of the HSE. Other operators of similar rides should consider their CCTV provision and ensure that staff are trained to effectively use CCTV to prevent accidents.
Earlier this year the CPS concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring manslaughter charges against the theme park. However, the HSE has confirmed that it intends to bring a charge for breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act following the outcome of the inquest.