Boy's zip wire death: Bailey Sumner 'wrongly attached'

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Media captionBailey Sumner was killed on Easter Sunday 2011

An 11-year-old boy who died after falling from a Snowdonia zip wire ride had been wrongly attached to the equipment, an inquest has heard.

Bailey Sumner, from Blackpool, died from head injuries at Easter 2011.

The SwampFlyer ride at Greenwood Forest Park near Caernarfon, Gwynedd, had been open only a week.

The Dolgellau inquest heard that a mountaineering clip had been passed through a "false loop" in the rope supporting him.

Park owner Stephen Bristow said the mistake should have been spotted during safety checks.

"The training required them to be absolutely rigorous about what they were doing," he told the inquest.

Pathologist Dr Anthony Caslin said Bailey died after suffering a brain injury due to a fractured skull following a fall from height.

'Symbol of tragedy'

The inquest jury heard Mr Bristow had taken a decision to open a zip wire at the park in November 2010 and after researching and taking advice had opened SwampFlyer on 17 April 2011.

The ride was removed immediately after Bailey's death.

Mr Bristow said: "I didn't want it to remain there. It was a symbol of tragedy."

He said he had received professional guidance before opening the ride and had not been warned about the risk of a false loop.

The park had used a voluntary Health and Safety Executive (HSE)approved scheme of safety inspections, and an expert had passed the ride as safe.

"We get the best advice we can find," Mr Bristow said, adding there was no legal requirement to have an inspection.

The court heard there was "top-quality equipment" and staff were trained to check equipment.

'False loop'

Det Sgt Gary Williams told the inquest that Bailey became detached from some lanyards which remained on the cable.

The karabiner, a metal loop, was still attached to the loops of the harness.

"It was our opinion the karabiner had been attached to the false loop and as soon as weight had been applied it became detached," he said.

Philip Mitchell, a chartered mechanical engineer from Leicestershire, who inspects roller coasters and other equipment, said such a tragedy had never occurred before.

Kevin Elliott, the lawyer for Greenwood Forest Park, added there was a plethora of HSE guidance but none highlighted the potential peril in Bailey's case.

Coroner Nicola Jones said the delay between Bailey's death and the inquest being held was down to a police investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service.

She told the jury: "What we want to know is how he came to die. This isn't a court that deals with any issues of blame. Nobody is on trial here."

The inquest continues.

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