AS HER LEICESTER community struggles to come to terms with the death of Evha Jannath, water rapid rides throughout and beyond the UK have been shut down pending clarity on what needs to be done to keep visitors safe.
Rides at England’s most famous theme parks – including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Legoland, as well as Drayton Manor – will remain closed to visitors until owners and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can be certain what went wrong and whether adjustments – such as safety belts, age restrictions or increased supervision requirements – need to be made.
Vikki Treacy has given further information about what happened to her son Patrick back in 2013 when he was in the same water rapid ride as Evha had been. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live she said that Patrick was on his feet when the raft he was in collided with the side of the “canyon” and Patrick was tipped out. She said that a member of the public had jumped over two fences and pulled him out of the water – which was fortunately quite shallow where he was thrown into it.
Ms Treacy reported the incident to Drayton Park management and was told that a manager would telephone her. She did not receive a call and had to ring the Park. She was able to speak to a manager, but he had not heard that there had been an incident. Ms Treacy concluded that the Drayton Park authorities were not taking what happened to Patrick seriously. She has made public a letter which she sent to Drayton Park spelling out her concerns. Drayton Park managers were unable to respond to her allegations given that a current HSE investigation is taking place.
More evidence of visitors standing up in the water ride rafts has emerged: an amateur video of youngters standing in the rafts just two days ago has been made public. While most of the pupils from the Jameah Girls Academy who were on the school trip have been too traumatised to speak out, one parent has suggested that there was an unreasonable delay in Drayton Manor staff trying to rescue Evha – because they did not believe the other girls in that raft who were screaming for assistance and only realised they had a serious issue on their hands when teachers arrived and confirmed that a girl was missing.
Drayton Manor is closed for the second day today to allow the HSE to carry out investigations without distractions. Staffordshire police are conducting a parallel investigation. Evha’s family have called for the ride to be closed on a permanent basis, or at least until what caused her death is known.
•Read our original report on the tragic accident: