Probe after children hurt in slide collapse at fireworks display
The collapse of an inflatable slide at a fireworks funfair that resulted in eight children being taken to hospital is being investigated.
Seven of the children, all aged under 16, have been discharged following the incident in Woking, Surrey.
One boy was kept in for overnight observations but suffered injuries “not thought to be significant”, police said.
Surrey Police declared a “major incident” at Woking Fireworks after multiple children fell from the “giant inflatable slide” at about 7.30pm on Saturday, shortly before the display was due to start.
Those taken to London hospitals were treated at St George’s Hospital and King’s College Hospital, while one was treated at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey, South East Coast Ambulance (Secamb) said.
Fireworks organiser Michael Holden, of Woking District Rotary, said it appeared the children had fallen to the ground from the top of the slide.
Mr Holden, who estimated around 5,000 people were in the park when it happened, said the circumstances around how the children were injured remain unclear.
“We don’t still know yet what exactly happened but eight children appear to have come off near the top of the slide and landed on the floor alongside it,” he said.
One witness said he was concerned earlier that evening when he saw up to 40 children playing on the “flimsy” slide at once.
Police have appealed for anyone with footage of what happened to contact them.
The investigation is now with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the force added.
The funfair was under police cordon on Sunday and the collapsed slide had been completely deflated.
Police investigators with cameras were inspecting other attractions, including the crooked house and the Ferris wheel.
HSE inspectors were also in attendance, with a spokeswoman confirming “initial inquiries” were being made.
Andy Datson, 23, said he saw up to 40 children playing on the slide, which he estimated was about 30ft tall at its highest point.
“We had been walking past the slide earlier in the night and said it looked unsafe. It looked pretty flimsy to say the least,” he said.
“There were far too many kids on it. It didn’t look like it could hold that many people.”
The journalist, who lives in Guildford, Surrey, added: “It looked like there were too many children on it and the side area had given way.”
Local musician Anna Neale, one of hundreds who had to evacuate the park with their families, said said she was relieved she had not taken her young children on the slide.
The 36-year-old mother-of-two said: “We saw all the blue lights and saw the air ambulance arriving. We all evacuated very calmly. Everyone was just shocked.”
Ms Neale said: “I am very grateful my children didn’t go on it, let’s just put it that way.”
Woking District Rotary Club said it was “shocked and distressed” by the collapse and would meet to “agree next steps”.
Following news of the children’s conditions, Woking Fireworks tweeted: “We are really pleased for all concerned to hear that the injuries are not as serious as first feared. We are meeting shortly to agree next steps.”
A Woking Borough Council spokesman said: “We will be working with the police and relevant authorities to understand and explain what happened.”
Meanwhile, the ambulance service said three people suffered minor injuries on a teacup ride at a fireworks event in Leeds Castle in Maidstone on Saturday.
A Secamb spokeswoman said the service was contacted shortly after 5pm but did not attend as the event’s medical cover dealt with the incident.