Chessington admits failings following girl fall

Chessington World of Adventures logoChessington World of Adventures has admitted safety failings following an accident in 2012 which saw a girl suffer severe injuries.

The incident took place in the elevated queue line for the Tomb Blaster dark ride, where four-year-old Jessica Blake fell through fence panelling.

Guildford Crown Court heard that water dripping from a roof had rotted the wooden posts through which the girl fell.

She suffered serious head injuries and subsequent induced coma but has since recovered.

Chessington’s operators, Merlin Entertainments, initially expressed “disappointment” following the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) decision to prosecute in October last year.

However, at that time it did indicate that it would “take time to read [the HSE’s] findings before responding further”.

BBC News reports that the park will be sentenced on Monday.

Tomb Blaster queue line [©YouTube/JamesMurcho93]

Fencing around the Tomb Blaster queue line is now inspected every two weeks

‘Deep regret’

A spokeswoman for Chessington World of Adventures said the park regarded the health and safety of its guests and employees as its “number one priority”.

“The resort has an excellent safety record and every year we invest significant resources in maintenance and safety measures.

“What happened to the young child was an isolated incident which we deeply regret, and from the outset we have put in place a package of support for the child and the family.

“We have also co-operated fully with the HSE investigation.

“This showed both a rigorous inspection and maintenance regime, and evidence not only of very swift action by staff, but also that the paling was dislodged by the application of exceptional force upon it shortly before the accident.

“Nevertheless, we have worked with the HSE to put some additional measures in place, including the installation of new metal safety fencing along the queue line.”

It is widely expected that the park will be issued with a considerable fine at Monday’s court hearing.