M&Ds theme park fined £65,000 over Tsunami crash

Tsunami rollercoaster, M&Ds theme park

Scottish theme park M&Ds has been fined £65,000 after a rollercoaster crash in June 2016.

The incident saw a train on the Tsumai suspended rollercoaster derail, injuring nine people.

One child ended up in a coma as a result of the accident, which was followed by a 15-month investigation.

Owners of the Motherwell park pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act on Friday.

Court documents described defective weld repairs as causing a failure of the train’s axle.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s investigation concluded that the weld metal was incompatible with that of the train’s axle.

A ride inspector issued a safety certificate for the ride 16 days before the accident.

He was banned from working three weeks after it took place. The ride was dismantled in February 2017.

Crash onto the ground

The HSE’s Martin McMahon said: “We found nine out of the 10 axles on the Tsunami had been given this weld overlay repair.

“In the end six of them detached from the ride causing it to crash onto the ground.”

The derailment has been reported as taking place at 40 mph.

M&Ds director Matthew Taylor issued a statement after today’s sentencing.

“My brother Douglas and I have been in business together for more than 50 years,” it read.

“This is the first incident of this type that we’ve ever been involved in.

“We are devastated as both a family and a business, and our heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the accident.

“Our customers shape every part of our business and our thoughts have always been with those who were injured and their families.

Tsunami rollercoaster, M&Ds theme park

“We’ve co-operated fully with the inquiries at every stage to ascertain what caused this accident and how to prevent it happening again in the future.

“Each and every ride within the theme park has always been subject to a daily safety check and annual independent inspection.

“We have now introduced a new, more detailed, maintenance recording system which records any work carried out to ensure that repairs can be traced accurately.”

‘Looking for justice’

The father of one of the victims spoke to the BBC outside Hamilton Sheriff Court.

“For a company bragging a turnover of £8 million to be fined £65,000 is disappointing,” he said.

“Seeing what my son went through initially and for months and years after, I am bitterly disappointed.

“It’s been a hard battle for him and us. When he was in a coma – it was hard to watch our child on a ventilator – and then when he came off it, struggling with his injuries, it was heartbreaking.

“Two years eight months later looking for some sort of justice, I don’t think we received that today.”

Several victims have received compensation payouts, with other claims still in process.

M&Ds received a £1.4 million insurance payout after it was closed in the aftermath of the accident.

David Nellaney, of Digby Brown Solicitors was quoted by HeraldScotland as saying: “The prosecution of M&Ds Leisure Ltd will be welcomed by the victims and their families following the devastating and life-long impacts it has had on them.”