Schoolgirl strangled and left unconscious after accident at popular Hampshire activity park

An abseiling activity at 'Fairthorne Manor
An abseiling activity at 'Fairthorne Manor

A POPULAR activity park has been accused of breaching health and safety regulations after a child was strangled and left unconscious in a rope bridge accident.

A group of Year 6 students were celebrating leaving their primary school during a trip to YMCA Fairthorne Manor, in Curdridge.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard that a girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was on an apparatus called the Burma Bridge during the visit on July 8, 2012.

When crossing the bridge, she fell, causing the harness holding her to the safety wire to fly up and cut under her chin.

The safety sling connecting her cut around her throat and strangled her, leadfing her to lose consciousness.

The court heard the two instructors on site - one an apprentice and the other a volunteer - tried to save the girl but couldn’t lift her up because she was ‘like a dead weight’.

One instructor then tried to cut the rope with a knife in a pack provided. However, Malcolm Gibney, prosecuting, said the knife was not sharp enough and didn’t ‘do the job it was designed for’.

Apprentice Matt Fisher, a former lifeguard, then took it upon himself to dive into the pond underneath. The girl was then cut free and Mr Fisher swam her to safety after briefly going under water.

Mr Gibney argued that the two males had to use measures they were not taught to do, and had not received the necessary training by Fairthorne Manor.

The girl was taken to Southampton General Hospital and has since made a full recovery.

Fairthorne Manor is charged for the failure to ensure safety of a person not in their employment and the failure to provide adequate health and safety training to employees.