Karl Doran Beamish Museum crush death: Accidental verdict

Karl Doran Karl Doran suffered head injuries

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A museum where a seven-year-old boy was crushed to death under a ride has been told to improve safety, an inquest has heard.

Karl Doran, from Darlington, died when he fell under the trailer of a steam traction engine driven by his father Philip at Beamish Museum in July 2012.

The open air museum has since been issued with an improvement notice by the Health and Safety (HSE) executive.

Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The hearing at Crook Civic Centre was told that Mr Doran, a volunteer at the museum, had been driving the vintage vehicle around the attraction on 22 July, with his son sitting on the tow bar.

Mr Doran had told Karl to join him on the engine after he began dragging his feet, but he then felt the trailer wobble and saw his son lying dead in the road.

'Incredibly tragic'
Traction engine and trailer The vintage vehicle and trailer were being driven around the attraction by Karl's father Philip Doran

Beamish was issued with an improvement notice to make sure steam engines driven by volunteers were properly risk-assessed.

Mr Tweddle said: "This is a very simple case but an incredibly tragic one at the same time.

"No-one, particularly Karl's dad, would have expected things to turn out in the way that they did that day.

"I hope through the evidence being given there will be lessons learned which will reduce similar fatalities in the future."

Richard Evans, director of the museum, said the safety of visitors was a top priority and they wanted to exceed existing standards.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the circumstances surrounding the youngster's death.

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