A boy who fell from a rollercoaster at Lightwater Valley is now described as being in a “critical” condition.
Initially described as sustaining injuries that were “not life threatening”, police today said that the seven-year-old was in a “critical” condition.
The accident occurred on the Twister spinning rollercoaster on Thursday morning, with eyewitnesses described the boy as “hanging out” from the ride’s train.
He was then seen on the ground underneath the ride being attended to ride by emergency personnel.
The rollercoaster has been closed and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has begun an investigation alongside the police.
The ride is likely to now be in receipt of a prohibition notice from the HSE, which under standard procedure prevents apparatus involved in serious incidents being used until remedial action is undertaken.
North Yorkshire Police said that the boy was assessed as suffering significant head injuries that became apparent upon admission to Leeds General Infirmary.
“The boy was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with head injuries following the incident where he currently remains,” a statement read.
“However, his condition is now described as critical.”
“On arrival at hospital, the child was assessed and found to have injuries that would not have been apparent at the scene of the incident.”
The boy was today clarified as being seven years old, after reports yesterday said he was six.
Images appear to show that the boy came to rest at the bottom of the rollercoaster’s second drop, the lowest and fastest point of the ride.
Eyewitness Simon Moran indicated that the boy fell from the ride close to where the on-ride photograph is taken.
He Tweeted: “As it went down the fast bit towards the ‘souvenir’ camera, he slid out and over the top of the carriage.”
Lightwater Valley said in a statement that it was “devastated” by the news of the boy’s condition now being described as critical.
“We have been informed by North Yorkshire Police that the medical condition of the child involved in the incident at the park yesterday is now described as critical,” the statement read.
“We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family. While the Health and Safety Executive investigation is continuing, we will support them and be guided by their advice.”
“We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family,” the statement read.
Calls for closure
The mother of a 20-year-old Gemma Savage, who was killed in a separate accident on the ride in 2001, said that she was devastated by the news.
Speaking to the BBC, Linda Savage said that she was unaware that the Twister ride was still in operation, and called for both the rollercoaster and the park to be closed.
“Our thoughts go out to this little boy and his family,” she said.
“It’s unbelievable that this has happened on the same ride, 18 years on. Why wasn’t the ride shut down?
“It’s incredibly distressing for us in the run-up to the anniversary of Gemma’s death.
“We didn’t know the ride was still in operation. It should have been shut down permanently. It’s about time the whole place was closed down.
“We felt powerless then, and we feel powerless now. Our hopes and prayers go out to the little boy’s family, and we hope he makes a full recovery.”