‘Friends thought I’d been killed on funfair ride’

Have your say

A MOTHER has told of the moment her friends thought she had been killed in a fairground ‘disaster’.

Gemma Smith from Clanfield says her friends thought she was dead after she was left unconscious in a freak accident at Funland on Hayling Island.

Gemma Smith at QA. 'Picture Ian Hargreaves  (171093-1)

Gemma Smith at QA. 'Picture Ian Hargreaves (171093-1)

As she sat down for a whirl on the Miami Extreme, Gemma, 25, leaned forward to throw her sunglasses to a friend watching on from the sideline.

Unaware the ride was about to begin, the safety bar came down on her neck and pushed her head between her legs – leaving her unconscious.

Speaking about the ordeal, Ms Smith said: ‘I was taking my daughter out for the evening but it turned out to be a disaster.

‘I went to throw my sunglasses but when the bar came down that was it.

The Miami Extreme at the Hayling Island Funland

The Miami Extreme at the Hayling Island Funland

‘Because I wasn’t moving, my friends thought I was dead.’

The bar was quickly lifted after Gemma’s onlooking friend, 25-year-old Tom Barlow, jumped over a railing to alert the ride’s operator.

Gemma was then carried off and laid on a nearby table, where she regained consciousness.

Mr Barlow said: ‘It was scary. I jumped over the rail and shouted ‘lift the bar up, lift the bar up’. I honestly thought she was dead.

‘Staff told us not to call an ambulance because it would take too long to get there.

‘All they offered her was a hot drink – that wasn’t going to do much.

‘We were told the operator shouted a warning for the people on the ride to sit back, but we didn’t hear it.’

After a visit to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Gemma is now taking five types of painkillers for the internal bruising she received to her neck and back.

Addressing the incident – which occurred on Saturday, September 2 – a spokesperson for Funland said: ‘Of course we are sorry the lady has been injured, but this would not have happened if she followed the operator’s instructions and sat back.

‘This is not our fault.’

The Health and Safety executive said it is making enquiries into the incident.

It comes after a boy allegedly slipped from the ride in 2013.