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Tayto Park: Woman on collapsed theme park staircase recalls moment 'people dropped'

House of Horrors at Tayto Park Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The incident happened at Tayto Park's House of Horrors attraction during a Halloween-themed event

A woman who was on a staircase that part-collapsed in an Irish theme park has described the moment it creaked and "people suddenly dropped".

Nine people were injured when the set of stairs collapsed at Tayto Park in County Meath on Saturday night.

Most sustained cuts and bruises although one person is understood to have fractured a bone.

The incident happened at the park's House of Horrors attraction during an after-dark Halloween-themed event.

A spokesperson for Tayto Park said that nine people had been taken to hospital as a "precautionary measure".

Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin said it had received three injured people. One is stable while the two others have been discharged.

'Crying and screaming'

Rian O'Kelly, 25, from Dublin, told BBC's The Sunday News programme that she was on an upper part of the staircase when the collapse happened.

She was attending the event with her 13-year-old sister and two of her sister's friends.

"We'd just stepped off the first flight of stairs on to a kind of landing. Basically we heard this big creaking noise and we thought it was part of the show, like it was trying to be scary.

"But, then, people behind us suddenly dropped and the whole staircase collapsed.

"Obviously we got really afraid and everyone started crying and screaming and running because we thought we were going to drop as well."

Image copyright Tayto Park
Image caption A spokesperson for Tayto Park said it would "co-operate fully" with any investigation

Ms O'Kelly said that if any of her group had been "one step behind they would've gone down".

"I didn't really look at what happened underneath but there was definitely a lot of people injured from it.

"I wanted them (her group) to come away from it (the edge of the staircase) because I didn't know how strong the rest of it was and if the first part of it collapsed, I didn't know what was going to happen to the second part."

Investigation

She added: "The only way we could go was up, so we all had to run up.

"It was very, very scary trying to think on my feet and get them out but I was also so frightened, my knees were totally shaking and everything.

"Everyone just started running and going out. A lot of staff that were outside were not aware.

"It was a scary event so they were jumping out from behind bushes, they didn't know what had happened and were carrying on."

The Health and Safety Authority has said it has launched an investigation into what happened.

A statement from Tayto Park said: "Last night (Saturday 22 October) at approximately 8pm the lower portion of a permanent staircase leading to The House of Horrors gave way.

"The Tayto Park emergency plan was immediately put in place and the emergency services attended the scene.

"Nine people were transported to hospitals in the city as a precautionary measure to assess their injuries.

"The management of Tayto Park will co-operate fully with the investigation as the safety of our guests is paramount."

The park opened as normal on Sunday.

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