Two young girls are said to have been left petrified after a dangerous experience on a ride at Botton’s Pleasure Beach in Skegness.
Nicola Ley from Lincoln took her daughters on a family day out to Skegness yesterday afternoon (April 10). Emily, 11, and Katie, 9, were eager to try the Queen Bee rollercoaster, but it wasn’t the exciting experience they were expecting.
Nicola told Lincolnshire Reporter that the shoulder/body restraints weren’t pulled down manually by the operative, but they were sent off on the ride totally exposed.
She claims the girls were on the ride without a bar or shoulder restraint for a lap of the lower run of the rollercoaster before the carriage was brought back into the station.
Emily and Katie were shook up but were not hurt, she said. But Katie has “vowed never to go on so much as a slide again.”
Nicola said she was offered free wristbands – but she was left feeling like more should have been done.
Nicola said: “Our daughters very nearly died at Skegness yesterday, as in almost ended up maimed or dead after nearly falling off a kids’ rollercoaster ride because the operator overlooked them completely and didn’t pull their body harness down.
“The operator only stopped the ride after he had started it and it had gone around the bottom track when he finally registered my eldest’s terrified repeated screams of ‘our bar’s not been pulled down’.
“I initially didn’t think anything of Emily’s, what I thought were playful, screams and flapping 50ft above the park.
“I realised they were far too high for a good picture so ran up the tall exit staircase to the platform for a better look to see Emily still shouting with the ride leaving the deck, but instantly seeing what all the fuss was about.
“The operator had gone to everyone else, but missed their carriage completely and not pulled their shoulder harness down. In the space of a few seconds it did the bottom run and pulled back into the station with a halt.
“The girls were clinging to each other and sobbing as they were pulled out of their carriage by the operator. He immediately came over behind the petrified girls who had run at me screaming, shouting he had stopped it as quickly as he could when he had seen.”
Nicola said the operator apologised and said he was ‘in a rush to get to the ride started and didn’t see them.’
Nicola spoke to management staff who she said told her the operator would be dealt with.
She said he offered her £10 for the tokens she had purchased “out of his own wallet” and by way of further compensation she would get free ride wristbands for the day. She also said she was told the ‘user error’ “had only happened three times before”.
Skegness Police also took a statement from Nicola and advised her to contact the health and safety executives. Nicola then revisited the venue and asked to speak to the park manager.
She was then told an incident report would be filed and that the attendant had been there for a number of years and was fully trained. They told her he had been given a verbal warning.
She added: “I was just speechless. This isn’t a fairground Thomas the Tank train on a track, it’s a kids’ rollercoaster that the girls struggled to even stay in without any form of restraint for just four seconds into it.
“I’m not anticipating or looking for compensation, but I’m not happy with being fobbed off and above all I feel I need to encourage others to be aware when visiting seemingly unregulated places like this.”
Lincolnshire Police confirmed they did receive a call about this, but that it was a matter for the health and safety executive.
Reporters contacted Botton’s Pleasure Beach, but there was no reply by the time of publication.