A well known children’s attraction at the Sydney Royal Easter Show has been closed after a four-year-old kid was left unrestrained in his seat, putting him in danger of being catapulted into the air and severely hurt.
The ‘Free Fall’ attraction was about to open on Sunday afternoon when horrified bystanders alerted ride workers that the restraint on Tristan Curtis’ seat had not locked into place.
Photos on the internet show Tristan riding the ride with the restraint, which should have been secured downward before the ride began, still open over his head. The handcuffs on the other youngsters seated next to him were all tightly fastened.
Sky Boustani Curtis, his mother, was forced to witness in terror as the near-disaster occurred. She explained that the (operator) girl halted the ride but didn’t go out of her booth, so another father had to climb down to him. Neither she nor her spouse were tall enough to reach him. His harness was not pulled or they didn’t inspect him. Onlookers had to yell for the ride to stop.
Mrs Curtis stated that her son Tristan had autism and that it was ‘impossible’ to determine how he was feeling after the terrifying incident. Another witness stated that the operator had “no notion” the youngster was not fastened.
Eva Levy recounted that they struck an emergency stop, but it appears that the operator was unable to bring the ride down, so someone had to walk up there and have his son jump into his arms.
Ms Grace afterwards went on Facebook to urge other parents to ‘be cautious. This irresponsibility that unfolded in front of countless who had to yell to get the woman to halt the ride, she added. The bar was never lowered, and she began the ride with no notification or checks. She urges you to pay attention to how they strap your child into a ride since some of these operators definitely aren’t performing their job or duty of care! ‘There are no excuses!’
The organisers of the show have initiated an immediate inquiry into the event.
‘The safety of the Show’s visitors is fundamental, and we have shut down the kids’ Free Fall ride due to a reported issue with a harness,’ said a spokesperson.
‘The ride’s safety features worked effectively to prevent any injuries, and the ride will not run again until a comprehensive investigation is done and the ride has been cleared by professional engineers.’
The news of the tragedy generated outrage online, with many calling for greater ride operator training. ‘It’s time for the ride attendants to get their full dosage of training!!!!’ These coasters are massive…..and dangerous…..hence the term THRILL!!! ‘Those safety features are there for a reason,’ one lady commented on Facebook.
‘No ride should be allowed to begin unless every harness and seat is tight and in place….it should be an automated operation,’ says the manufacturer.
One more added: ‘What is wrong with the operators these days. It’s not difficult to ensure that the youngsters are securely strapped in. I can’t believe she didn’t even get out of the box to assist; individuals like this should not be allowed to run such dangerous attractions.’
The horrifying event came only two weeks after a boy died after falling 50 metres on a similar ride at a theme park in the United States.
Tyre Sampson, 14, died on March 24 after sliding out of his seat on the 430-foot Orlando Free Fall attraction at ICON Park in Florida.