Drayton Manor death: Girl unsupervised on ride before she drowned

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Evha Jannath fell out of a circular boat on the Splash Canyon attraction

A schoolgirl was unsupervised when she fell from a theme park ride to her death, an inquest heard.

Evha Jannath, 11, from Leicester, was on a school trip in 2017 when she fell from Splash Canyon at Drayton Manor.

Evha, who could not swim, was "propelled" from the vessel into 12ft deep water where she drowned.

An inquest at South Staffordshire Coroner's Court heard that she stood up on the ride "at the worst possible time".

CCTV footage played to the inquest jury showed that, despite rules that riders should sit down, Evha was standing and reaching into the water before the circular boat she was in struck a barrier, sending her headfirst into the water.

Footage then showed her wading through the water trying to get back to her friends before climbing an "algae-covered travelator" and falling off into a "much deeper" area of water.

Image source, ThemeParks.ie
Image caption,
The Splash Canyon ride has remained closed since Evha's death

The inquest heard she was spotted face down by staff about 11 minutes later before she was pulled out lifeless.

It had been her second turn on the ride - her first, accompanied by teachers, had passed "without incident", assistant coroner Margaret Jones said.

Staffordshire Police said the member of staff from Jameah Girls Academy assigned to accompany the group of pupils waited by the exit with another pupil who had not wanted to board the ride.

Head teacher Erfana Bora said the teacher acted in line with the school's health and safety policy on the day.

She said: "We can't stipulate teachers must be on rides, as there will be instances where some children would not wish to be on the ride, and so in those cases it's safer overall for the teacher to stay with that child... they make the assumption the park staff are responsible for overall safety on that ride."

Another teacher, Aaminah Rasid Isat, said when the schoolgirls asked if they could go on the ride by themselves, the teachers agreed they were "safe" to do so.

She said: "Seeing their behaviour previously on the other rides, we came to a decision they were responsible enough and having been on it once before, they were safe to go on the ride on their own."

Evha died in hospital after suffering chest injuries, however her cause of death has since been changed to drowning.

Splash Canyon has been closed since she fell on 9 May 2017.

The inquest, due to last two weeks, continues.

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