Northern Ireland news

Funfair ride collapse caused by 'misuse of equipment' by teenagers

Six people were injured at the funfair at Carrickfergus Castle on Saturday. Picture by Alan Lewis/PhotopressBelfast

THE operators of a fairground attraction in Co Antrim have blamed teenagers misusing equipment for a collapse that led to six people being injured.

Three children were among those who were hurt at Planet Fun at Carrickfergus Castle on Saturday.

Emergency services were called to the scene shortly before 6pm after they received reports that the Star Flyer swing ride had collapsed.

It is understood the ride swung beyond its perimeter and struck a number of signs belonging to the structure.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service despatched four emergency crews, a rapid response paramedic and an ambulance officer to the scene.

Six people were taken to hospital, although their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Two patients were taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, two to the Royal Victoria Hospital, and one adult and one child to Antrim Area Hospital.

A number of patients were discharged at the scene.

A passenger on the ride last night described it as a "terrifying experience".

Lee Toner (29), who was on the ride with his partner, said the swings had started to knock into each other, and hit parts of the ride.

"As it took off, it started hitting the boards on the outside, and hitting the lights," he told the BBC.

"I was having to use my legs to push off the cart in front of me, the cart my partner was in was going into the back of me, going into the side boards as well."

Planet Fun said in a statement that the equipment did not have any "mechanical defects" and the funfair reopened yesterday.

"All sessions of Planet Fun will go ahead as normal," it said.

"Following a preliminary investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Planet Fun have been cleared to reopen and it is confirmed the equipment has not got any mechanical defects.

"We will however be keeping the Star Flyer closed pending further safety checks and investigation.

"The incident tonight (Saturday) was caused by misuse of equipment by the behaviour of several teenagers on the attraction and is to be further investigated by the PSNI.

"The swift actions by our staff to terminate the ride prevented further injuries.

"At this time we cannot comment any further on the incident but would extend our thoughts and best wishes to the people who were injured."

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "My thoughts are with all who have been injured and affected by this incident.

"I wish everyone a speedy recovery and I want to sincerely thank the ambulance, paramedics and fire crews that responded so rapidly to what could have been something more tragic."

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