Roller-coaster Derails In Timaru, Man Taken To Hospital

A roller-coaster derailed at the Caroline Bay carnival in Timaru yesterday at 3.45pm, leaving a man and a four year old child hanging upside down within a carriage below the tracks.

The man was taken to hospital with back injuries and the child is said to have been “shaken” by the event.  See the report in the Timaru Herald. The pair were later named as Andrew Meeking, and and his son Lewis Meeking.

Another report on Yahoo NZ news said that the boy and man fell from a height of three metres and both were injured. This was followed the day after by the news that a wheel had come off the roller coaster’s carriage.

The Department of Labour has slapped a prohibition notice on the ride until it is certified safe by an independent engineer but the the news report we saw didn’t state if the ride had ever been inspected by staff from the Department of Labour in the past, or whether the operators are required by NZ law to have regular safety inspections of their equipment or hold public liability insurance as is required in some other countries.

Fortunately on this occasion a tragedy didn’t happen, but it could have been so very much worse. We wish the man and child a full recovery.

Although the ride isn’t related to adventure tourism, there have been a large number of incidents in which people have been killed and injured in adventure pursuits in New Zealand. It caused caused a tightening up of the regulation of the industry after a lengthy safety review, but there will be a four year grace period until the new regulations come fully into force.

One wonders if a similar review may be needed for fairground amusements. It shouldn’t have to take a fatality to ‘make things happen.’

Britain’s Health and Safety Executive carried out a review of fairground safety as far back as 2001, in which it stated that “no deaths or injuries at fairground accidents can be considered acceptable”

Some other fairground incidents in New Zealand

Investigation continues into rogue fairground ride – “Department of Labour inspectors were today continuing their investigation into a fairground ride that went out of control in Gisborne yesterday injuring a number of children. Six children were taken to Gisborne Hospital yesterday after being tossed off the Explorer joyride when it malfunctioned and spun out on control at the city’s A & P Show yesterday.”

Fairground ride turns to terror -“An Auckland primary school funfair ended in terror for a father and his young son when they were flung from an out-of-control Ferris wheel.”

Fairground owner ‘my best mate’ – “I’ve lost my partner, my brother and my best mate,” said John Mahon yesterday as he spoke about the accident which took his brother’s life. Bill Mahon, owner of Mahon Amusements, died from head injuries after falling from the Super-Loops at Auckland’s Easter Show.”

For background read posts tagged Adventure tourism review