A HAMPSHIRE activity centre has been ordered to pay £230,000 after a schoolgirl was left hanging by her neck from a rope bridge.
YMCA Fairthorne Manor, near Botley, has been rapped over the incident which took place at the leisure site in July 2012.
A safely line became looped around the neck of the 11-year-old girl when she slipped on an obstacle.
The youngster was left hanging for several minutes before being cut down.
Medics were forced to place the child in a coma. She eventually made a full recovery.
YMCA Fairthorne Manor Group denied two charges brought against them by Hampshire County Council.
A jury at Portsmouth Crown Court was unable to reach a verdict on one of the counts but did convict the leisure group on one charge of failing ensure employees were adequately trained.
Judge Ian Pearson fined the company £30,000 and said the incident ‘could have been fatal’. He also ordered the YMCA to pay £200,000 in legal costs.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was among a group of 40 pupils from a school in Chandler’s Ford celebrating the end of the academic year.
During the trial, the court heard how staff had made ‘pretty shambolic’ attempts to rescue the 11-year-old from the Burma Bridge obstacle.
The cable holding the girl up was eventually severed and she dropped into the water under the bridge, along with one of the two instructors who had been trying to support her.
The unconscious youngster was flown by air ambulance to hospital where she was placed in an induced coma.
The prosecution said it had been ‘a matter of luck more than judgement she wasn’t seriously hurt’.
The YMCA group previously said it was “disappointed” with the verdict and described the incident as an “unfortunate isolated event”.
Winchester City Council said it had been assured that safety measures at the centre would be tightened.