Teen describes terror of St Neots fair ride collapse

Fairground at St Neots

Fairground at St Neots - Credit: Archant

A TEENAGE girl has described how children were screaming and crying as a fairground ride carrying 25 people collapsed at Riverside Park in St Neots.

Children are helped off of the ride after the accident at riverside park on Friday.

Children are helped off of the ride after the accident at riverside park on Friday. - Credit: Archant

Rebecca Pennell, 13, said she was on the ‘X-Scream’ ride, which spins and tilts at a 45 degree angle, on Friday at about 9.30pm when it began to jolt and shake.

The ride then began to rock, sending it off balance and leaving the circular wheel spinning out of control before it collapsed and dropped down.

One man was taken to hospital with a damaged tendon and whiplash and another girl is believed to have fractured her leg. Ten others were treated by ambulance services at the scene.

Rebecca, who escaped the ordeal with bruising, said: “It was in the middle of the ride and it was fully up in the air when it just started jolting. I was just thinking what the hell is going on and people were screaming and crying – it’s all a blur after that.

“It was hard to get down off the ride because there were no steps and the ramps had fallen off. They had to pull open the barriers to let us get out and then we had to jump down.”

Rebecca’s mother Caroline Hurrell, 49, said she was waiting to pick her up from the fair when she saw paramedics race past and her daughter come running towards her.

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“She came out shaking and said that she had nearly died,” said Mrs Hurrell, who lives with her two teenage daughters in Roundhouse Drive, Perry. “She got in the car and she was still shaking and really pale. Then she went through what had happened.

“It has put her off fairground rides and while as a parent you can’t stop your children having fun, it will certainly make me think twice.

“Her leg and her back were quite bruised – it was such a fright.”

Peter Underwood, 36, of Hardwick Road, Eynesbury, was at the fair with his partner and her seven-year-old son when the ride malfunctioned.

He said: “We had been on the dodgems and we were walking over to the ride and everybody ran away screaming.

“There was a huge crashing sound and all the kids on the ride were screaming and shouting and that’s when I realised we needed to get the kids off this ride.

“They were panicking and there was only a small exit with a 6ft drop over jagged metal, so we had to help a lot of them down. It was terrifying. When I got home that evening I was in a state.”

The company that run the fairground, F C Muggeridge & Son, said they were “devastated” that the accident had happened.

Charles Muggeridge, who runs the firm, said: “We have been running this fair in St Neots for 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened. The ride was sub-contracted in and all the details were in order – it’s now completely out of our hands.”

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating. An officer and an engineer were sent to the site on Monday (June 3) where the ride, which is believed to belong to a James Fendick, had been cordoned off.