Skegness funfair fined after people trapped on ride
A seaside fairground operator in Lincolnshire has been ordered to pay £16,000 after 22 people were trapped on one of its rides.
Seven people were taken to hospital after the Surf Rider, at Botton's Pleasure Beach in Skegness, became stuck in mid-air in August 2011.
Pleasure Beach Amusements Ltd admitting breaking health and safety laws in the case at Skegness Magistrates' Court.
The court heard there had been a failure to check the ride's gearboxes.
'A traumatic experience'
The company was charged with breaching section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The court heard a gearbox without any oil in it was mistakenly used on the ride.
As a result, a bearing became so hot it jammed, leading to the failure of several other components.
The passenger car then tilted and crashed into the ride platform, halting at an angle of around 80 degrees.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Kivlin said: "This was a frightening incident for many people that day and it could have been easily prevented. There was just not enough oil in the gearboxes.
"HSE would expect the company to have checked that gearbox oil levels were correct before installation. As the oil levels were insufficient, there was, therefore, an inevitability about this incident.
"The injuries suffered by those on the ride that day could have been much worse. It was a traumatic experience for everyone on board and some are now unwilling to go on fair rides or in lifts."
Student Alice Thorne, 16, of Hinckley, Leicestershire, was trapped on the ride for more than an hour.
She suffered neck, chest and leg injuries.
She said: "People came rushing over. I was at the top of the ride so I had to wait for about an hour for the fire officer to release me.
"I've been having nightmares about the incident."
In a statement, the company said: "This was the first serious incident we have had in more than 45 years of operation.
"Since the incident, steps have been taken to further refine the servicing and maintenance regime which was already in place for our rides, to reduce the risk of such an incident happening again."
The company was ordered to pay an £8,000 fine and £8,000 in costs.