Grandma thanks fire service after rescue from wheel

A GRANDMOTHER has thanked fire crews after they rescued her from the top of a fairground ride.

Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 6:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:34 pm
Frances Crouch with firefighters Rich Furse and Mark Hair and her grandson Jack Whitmore, six Picture: Habibur Rahman (161321-30)

Frances Crouch, 53, and her grandson Jack Whitmore, six, had to be rescued from near the top of the 35ft Solent Wheel when the ride malfunctioned and left them stuck in their pod.

Fire fighters from Southsea and Cosham helped free the pair and brought them back to safety using an aerial crane platform.

Ms Crouch, who had bought Jack to the pier because of a teacher training day at his school, said: ‘It was absolutely horrible.

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The rescue at the wheel on Monday

‘I was a bit dubious about going on the wheel but still went on. We got to the top and it just stopped.

‘I thought they just stopped the wheel so you could have a look around, but then there were lots of people gathering at the bottom. I just tried to keep Jack calm because he was really upset.

‘I was shaking, my biggest fear though was whether the firemen would have to put a ladder up and we would have to climb down.’

Luckily for the fire service the pair, from Gosport, were the only passengers on the wheel at the time.

The rescue at the wheel on Monday

Ms Crouch, who was stuck in the air for an hour, added: ‘I felt very relieved coming down. The firemen did a fantastic job.’

Yesterday Frances and Jack were given a guided tour of the fire station at Southsea, with the youngster getting the chance to put on a fire service uniform and sit in the front seat of a fire engine.

The wheel was closed pending a health and safety investigation but was due to reopen today.

Southsea Fire Station crew manager Richard Furse said: ‘This sort of rescue is pretty rare but luckily it was quite a straightforward job for us.

‘We had the pair down within 10 minutes and it was a blessing there were no other people up there.’

Ride owners Jimmy and Jill Norman said the wheel would now be open until September 30.

Mrs Norman said: ‘Due to a technical fault on the computer systems this caused the ride to shut down.

‘The fault has now been located and the ride will reopen today.’