Attractions industry news

12 Dec 2019

'Take action to prevent future theme park deaths', says report following Drayton Manor tragedy

UK theme parks have been advised to take action to prevent future deaths, following the conclusion of an inquest into the accidental death of Evha Jannath at Drayton Manor in 2017.

The 11-year-old from Leicester was killed on a water rapids ride called Splash Canyon in May of that year after she stood up in the boat just as it hit a buffer designed to direct boats to the end of the ride.

Although a conclusion of accidental death was recorded, the coroner's report by South Staffordshire assistant coroner Margaret Jones said that action should be taken by all theme parks to prevent future deaths.

"I believe you have the power to take such action," the report stated.

The report has been sent to Alton Towers, Legoland, Thorpe Park, Merlin Entertainments and Lightwater Valley Theme Park, as well as Drayton Manor, and sets out a duty for Drayton Manor to respond in detail to matters raised at the inquest, and for all the theme parks to respond to the report by 8 January 2020, with details of actions taken or proposed to be taken, or otherwise explaining why no action was needed.

A number of concerns were raised by the coroner, including that CCTV was not being sufficiently well monitored and responded to, that safety warnings, either through signage or verbally by attendants, were inadequate, and that staff had not been adequately trained in water rescue.

The report also revealed that CCTV only covered 50 per cent of the Splash Canyon ride (which has been decommissioned since the incident), and that a review of the CCTV coverage from the time the ride opened on the day of Evha Jannath's death until 2pm (the time of the incident) showed at least 70 incidents of guests standing up in the boats.

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