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October 16th 2019

Personal Injury

‘Full and transparent’ investigation needed into Hull Fair accident as woman thrown from ride calls for improved safety

Becci Bilby

Becci Bilby

Legal Executive, Personal Injury

‘Full and transparent’ investigation needed into Hull Fair accident as woman thrown from ride calls for improved safety

The woman who was thrown from a Hull Fair ride last week has spoken of how she feels ‘lucky to be alive’ and says changes must now be made to improve safety at fairgrounds.

The woman who was thrown from a Hull Fair ride last week has spoken of how she feels ‘lucky to be alive’ and says changes must now be made to improve safety at fairgrounds.

Jade Harrison, 21, of Hull, suffered a broken jaw when she was flown from the Airmaxx 360 ride last Monday evening, and is now calling for the ride to be scrapped.

Recovering at home after three days in hospital, she is still unable to smile, nine days after the accident, due to the facial injuries she suffered and the metal plates she has had inserted in hospital.

She has also lost a tooth, is likely to lose two more, faces weeks on liquid food and struggles to walk given the extensive bruising she has suffered to her legs and chest.

Such are her injuries, Jade has not wanted to be pictured since the accident and says she can’t see herself getting on a ride again.

She has instructed our personal injury team at Hudgell Solicitors to represent her throughout the accident investigation, and Becci Ashfield, a specialist in injury claims, says that process must be ‘full and transparent’.

“Jade has sadly experienced everybody’s nightmare when going on a ride at the fair.

“This is quite simply something which should never happen and a full and transparent investigation is now needed to bring answers as to how and why Jade came to be thrown from the ride and suffer her injuries.

“It is also vital that lessons are learned to avoid similar incidents happening again. That is vital for the confidence of the many thousands – of all ages – who attend fairs like this up and down the country and should be able to do so in the knowledge that they are completely safe on all rides.

“Jade has suffered significant physical injuries, which incredibly and thankfully are not life-changing. They are, nonetheless, substantial and very traumatic for a young woman to deal with.

“There could also be a significant long-term psychological impact of this accident on her, and we will ensure this is fully investigated and taken into account.”

Thrown off ride and through the air

Witnesses on the night told how Jade was thrown around 10 to 15 feet from Airmaxx 360 ride, hitting a teenage boy who was on the neighbouring Sizzler attraction.

Jade has now spoken about the accident for the first time, and told Hull Live: “We must have been half way through the ride, it was bouncing a lot, spinning us around, it was OK, but then the actual carriage position changed, so all our weight was facing forwards onto the bar. My body was being pushed forwards and into the barrier.

“It started to bounce and that’s when remember it tilting – I was worried about coming out but that’s the last thing I remember thinking.

“I remember the sensation of falling out, but i don’t remember what I was thinking. There wasn’t a period where I thought the barrier was coming loose, it just happened all at once.

“I just remember seeing silver, as if it was the floor. I would have said I fell out and dropped straight to the ground below, I didn’t know I had been flown through the air like a ragdoll until my mum told me in hospital.

“People have said I looked like I was dead, with my eyes open. I thought it was a dream, I gave it a minute and then realised it wasn’t a dream and that’s when I started to panic and people were telling me not to move.  I thought I’d lost all of my teeth, my mouth felt like it had been scrambled as it was full of blood.

“The ironic thing of all this is that I don’t usually go on rides and I am happy to just walk around the fair. I had met a friend to go and was only intending to go on the big wheel this year, as I wanted to go on last year but none of my friends would.

“We’d only been there a few minutes as we went straight towards the big wheel. My friend suggested that we should go on the Airmaxx 360 and I wasn’t over keen, but we watched it and I felt I’d be ok on it so I went on.

“As I say, I am not one for the big rides, but when I do step outside of my comfort zone I always tell myself everything will be ok. Obviously, I wish I’d not gone on now, but I am someone who finds it hard to say no.”

‘How can my life be left relying on the clasp of a seat belt?’

Jade says that due to her nervousness of rides she immediately pulled down her own safety barrier when she sat down in her seat.

“I pulled the safety bar down myself as soon as I got on as I get paranoid that rides are going to set off without my barrier being down,” she said.

“When the attendant came around he clicked in the belt to hold the barrier in place. I think he pushed down on the bar, but he didn’t check it by pulling at it to see that it wouldn’t come free when jolted.

“When the ride set off I heard a loud click from the barrier, which worried me, but when I asked my friend he said his seat had made the same sound, so again, despite me being a worrier, I told myself all must be fine.

“The barrier must have come free, and when that happened my life was left relying on the clasp and buckle of a belt. How can that be right?

“I’ve tried not to think too much about what could have happened to me. What I have thought about a lot is how really small children are allowed to go on these fast and big rides at the fair, and how dangerous they are.”

Jade says she is now concerned for the safety of others at future fair events as she feels the rides have ‘become too big and too dangerous’.

“My little sister is nine-years-old and I’d hate to think of this happening to her,” she said.

“I’m feel lucky to be alive, or to have come away from this without a brain or spinal injury which would have left me paralysed for life, so I do feel lucky in a way.

“However I also feel angry as nobody should go to a fair and be thrown from a ride. It is disgusting really and when I think about how it happened it makes me angry that the safety systems simply didn’t do their jobs.

“Lots of rides at theme parks are all electronic and automated. The safety systems and barriers for all carriages come down and lock in place at the same time so the ride cannot start until all are safe.

“Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t ever tell people not to go on rides. I made the decision to go on this one, but there is no way people should be coming off. It shouldn’t be a risk.”

Jade says she has been told it is likely to be into the New Year before she feels fully recovered and able to return to work, when she hopes to take up a new job she had been due to start this week.

Now, she is calling for the ride not to be used again.

“I think the ride should be scrapped, and if that happens then at least I’ve achieved something. If the ride came back to Hull Fair next year I would be very angry, that is for certain.”

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