Girl, 12, was screaming among 'sea' of injured children after slide collapse - NATIONAL

A mother whose daughter was seriously injured when an inflatable slide collapsed at a fireworks funfair has called for stricter rules to prevent similar incidents.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th November 2018, 12:04 pm
Updated Monday, 5th November 2018, 1:06 pm
A view of the scene at a fireworks funfair in Woking Park, Surrey. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Eight children were taken to hospital after the ride collapsed at the event in Woking, Surrey, on Saturday evening.

Seven of the children have since been discharged from hospital, police said on Monday.

According to witnesses the youngsters appeared to fall from the 30ft-tall inflatable slide shortly before the fireworks display was due to begin.

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A view of the scene at a fireworks funfair in Woking Park, Surrey. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Donia Echouafni said her daughter Nadine, 12, suffered an injured pelvis when she fell from the inflatable slide.

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She told ITV News how, after hearing of the incident, she had rushed to the scene where she found her daughter screaming in pain among a '˜sea' of injured children.

'˜I don't want to see this to happen to anybody again, nobody wants to see their child on the floor crying, or unconscious,' Ms Echouafni said.

'˜It's not anything any mother or parent should have to face ever so I just want that to be sorted out.'

Asked if regulations around temporary fairground rides need to be tightened up, Ms Echouafni replied: '˜100%.'

She also called on police to do their '˜due diligence' and carry out a full investigation, warning that it '˜cannot happen again'.

She said: '˜It was a traumatic event for adults let alone children, to see what looked to me to be a sea of children lying down on the ground screaming, unable to move.

'˜(It) isn't something any child should ever witness, let alone an adult.'

Attendee Andy Datson, 23, said he saw up to 40 children playing on the slide, which he estimated was about 30ft tall at its highest point.

'˜We had been walking past the slide earlier in the night and said it looked unsafe. It looked pretty flimsy to say the least,' he said.

'˜There were far too many kids on it. It didn't look like it could hold that many people.'

The cause of the incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with the assistance of Woking Borough Council.

Woking District Rotary Club, which helped organise the event, said it was '˜shocked and distressed' by the collapse and would meet to '˜agree next steps'.

The Prime Minister has already faced demands to introduce a temporary ban on bouncy castles in public spaces after the deaths of two girls in separate incidents involving inflatables.

In July Ava-May Littleboy, aged three, died in hospital after she was thrown from an inflatable trampoline on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk.

It followed the death of seven-year-old Summer Grant, who was blown away on a bouncy castle at an Easter fair in Harlow, Essex, in March 2016.

Mrs May said that any '˜necessary recommendations to improve safety' that emerge from an investigation into Ava-May's death by police and the HSE will be '˜shared across the relevant sectors as soon as possible'.

In June married fairground workers William and Shelby Thurston, aged in their 20s, were jailed over Summer's death after being found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

A trial heard they had failed to properly secured the bouncy castle and a gust of wind lifted the inflatable sent it '˜cartwheeling' 300 metres down a hill.

A man and woman who were arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter over Ava-May's death were released under police investigation in July.