Lightwater Valley has been ordered to pay £350,000 in fines and costs following an accident which saw a boy fall from a rollercoaster.
The then seven-year-old child was for a short time in a critical condition with head injuries, before being discharged from hospital after two weeks.
He fell a reported 10 feet from the Twister rollercoaster, which has since been removed from the North Yorkshire theme park.
York Magistrates Court heard how the boy had not been wearing a seat belt, and fell through a gap between the seat and a restraining bar.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation concluded that while the theme park’s procedures for the ride stated those between 1.2 and 1.5 metres tall must wear seat belts, several children under 1.5 metres were not.
HSE inspector Andrea Jones said: “A child suffered life-changing head injuries at Lightwater Valley theme park.
“Our investigation found that the theme park did not implement suitable operating procedures and monitoring of ride operators in relation to the ride restraints.
“This was an entirely avoidable incident. Several children were put at risk and Lightwater Valley has now been held to account for their failings.”
‘Accept full responsibility’
The Ripon theme park admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
A Lightwater Valley spokesperson said: “We have from the outset accepted full responsibility for this accident and our sincere and heartfelt apologies go out to the young boy, his family and his friends.
“We have co-operated fully throughout the HSE’s investigation and are carefully considering the fine imposed by the Court.
“Since the incident we have been providing support and assistance to the family and will continue to do so.
“The health and safety of visitors to our park remains our top priority and we are determined that an incident such as this will never happen again.
“We have undertaken a full review of our health and safety systems and procedures following the accident.”