An 11-year-old girl was seriously injured today after falling off a rapid river ride into the water at Drayton Manor theme park.
The Splash Canyon ride at the theme park in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire, was closed as paramedics were called to reports of a ‘patient in the water’.
Shocked visitors told how they heard crying and screaming coming from the main entrance of the ride following the incident shortly after 2.15pm today.
Paramedics were called to reports of a ‘patient in the water’ at Drayton Manor theme park
The air ambulance, police and several fire units arrived at Drayton Manor theme park today
The Splash Canyon ride (file picture) at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire was closed
Witnesses reported that the air ambulance, police and fire units were on the scene – and a large area had been closed off, but some sections of the park were still open.
Staffordshire Police said the girl is believed to be from the Leicester area and she was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Officers are supporting her parents.
Witness Graham Johnstone, 40, said: ‘The first I knew something was wrong when I saw staff running over to the ride and turn people away.
‘Minutes later an air ambulance appeared overhead. All you could hear was crying coming from the steps leading to the ride entrance.
‘It was awful. Somebody said a little child had drowned but you just don’t know.
‘The emergency services were on the scene so quickly. I saw the air ambulance land but it didn’t take off again. I just hope the kid was OK.’
Shocked visitors told how they heard crying and screaming coming from the ride’s entrance
West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics were called to the theme park at 2.18pm today
And David Charles tweeted: ‘Air ambulance, police and several fire units here at Drayton Manor. Large area now closed off. Not sure what’s going on.’
Meanwhile Oonagh Law said on the theme park’s Facebook page: ‘Should have checked this ride Sunday. The carriages were getting stuck when we were on it.’
Eileen Heath added: ‘I seen two fire engines ambulances and helicopter go there.’
Anne Bowyer tweeted: ‘Hope she recovers, it kept breaking down a few weeks back, told to get on, then get off it. Happened to a few people. Positive vibes to the girl.’
And Martin Blake said: ‘Emergency services everywhere in Drayton Manor. Half of the park is closed now.’
A spokesman for Drayton Manor said: ‘The Splash Canyon ride has been closed following an incident this afternoon.
Witnesses reported that a large area of the park in Staffordshire had been closed off today
Drayton Manor said Splash Canyon had been ‘closed following an incident this afternoon’
‘Emergency services are at the scene and our fully trained park staff are assisting.’
A West Midlands Ambulance spokesman said: ‘West Midlands Ambulance Service can confirm it was called to reports of a patient in the water at Drayton Manor Park, Tamworth, at 2.18pm this afternoon.
‘An ambulance, a senior paramedic officer, a paramedic area support officer, a rapid response paramedic, a community first responder and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Staffordshire were sent to the scene. The first resource was on scene within seven minutes.’
Superintendent Carl Ratcliffe said: ‘We were called at 2.25pm this afternoon to reports that a child had fallen from a water ride at Drayton Manor Park.
‘The girl, believed to be 11 years old from the Leicester area, has been airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
The Splash Canyon ride was opened in 1993 and consists of 21 boats holding six people each
Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire is visited by about 1.5million people each year
‘Her parents have been informed and are being supported by officers. The Health and Safety Executive have been informed of the incident.’
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police added: ‘Her parents have been informed and are being supported by officers.’
The Splash Canyon ride was opened in 1993 and consists of 21 boats holding six people each. The minimum height for people is 0.9m (3ft). Anyone under 1.1m (3ft 7in) must be accompanied by an adult.
The theme park website says: ‘Hold on tight and experience Drayton Manor Park’s very own river rapids. Swerve around corners, splash through the waves, and get soaked as your boat is swept along our fast-flowing rapids.
‘No two experiences are ever the same, so grab your friends and family, climb on board one of our circular boats, and get ready for a wild ride through the water!
‘You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the jungle as you speed, bounce, and splash your way around our river, past other rides and through the trees, experiencing the most unpredictable and thrilling of river rapid rides. It’s called Splash Canyon for a reason.’