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Injured Woman Hits Out At Theme Park Bosses
Owners of the under-fire M&D’s theme park have been accused of ignoring a serious safety warning about a ride. Hairdresser Kirsten Sweeney claims she could have lost a leg on the park’s White Water log flume.
Kirsten said she told M&D’s about the serious incident nearly three years ago, which left her with a huge scar on her calf after being hospitalised. But she claims she was ignored.
Motherwell-based M&D’s is at the centre of a joint Police Scotland and Health & Safety Executive investigation following last Sunday’s Tsunami rollercoaster crash, which saw 10
people hurt. Kirsten says she has been left so badly scarred that people believe she is a shark attack victim.
The 20-year-old, from Girvan, Ayrshire, said: “M&D’s should be shut down.
"My accident was totally swept under the carpet. I’ve always thought, ‘What if it was a kid on that ride instead of me?’
"A young child’s leg would have been snapped clean off.
“The thing that upset me most was that M&D’s insurers added insult to injury by trying to blame me for what happened. They said I had been standing up when you can clearly see I’m sitting down in a picture of me on the ride. They preferred to wriggle off the hook rather than deal with a serious safety issue. My calf had been ripped open from side to side and it was a really thick gash. I needed 11 heavy-duty stitches. I was on crutches for weeks and it left a horrible scar. I tell everybody I was bitten by a shark and they believe me.”
Kirsten’s ordeal happened when the log boat she was riding in with a pal overturned, throwing her out.
Her leg became pinned in a gap between the barrier and a splashback guard and she was left screaming for help for 10 minutes.
She was only saved when stunned onlookers, including her dad, came to her aid.
Kirsten – who is expecting her first child in November – said: “I was just suddenly thrown out and my leg was trapped between the edge of the flume and the splashback.
"I was in agony.
“The ride was still going and I had to lift my other leg out of the way to stop it being hit by other boats coming past.
“I was standing screaming for about 10 minutes but no one from M&D’s helped.
"My friend was still in the log and tried to tell the M&D’s guys what had happened but they weren’t listening.
“My dad climbed on to the ride to try to pull the splashback barrier back but, because of the amount of water, he couldn’t manage it. It was only when a few other guys climbed up as well that they were able to get me free.”
Kirsten claims an M&D’s employee tried to patch her up using a tea towel.
She said: “Eventually someone from M&D’s arrived with a wheelchair and a tea towel to wrap around my leg. I was in a state of shock.
“I was in so much pain, they had to stop the ambulance in the middle of the road to give me morphine.”
A witness to the aftermath of Kirsten’s accident claims M&D’s bosses had the log flume ride running again within half an hour of her being rescued.
Carer Sharron McGee, 40, from Airdrie, has not been back to the park since seeing Kirsten’s accident.
The mum-of-two said: “The ride kept going for about 10 minutes with that girl screaming in agony. It took members of the public to try to give her a hand. The attendants were just kids and my mum got them to finally stop the ride and get help. It was horrible.
"Blood was everywhere and there was a massive gash in her leg.
“The unbelievable thing was that they had the ride back up and running after about 20 minutes.
“It’s disgraceful that she has not received compensation.”
Kirsten attempted to sue M&D’s for compensation but the theme park’s insurers Sports Cover denied liability.
She hopes last weekend’s near-disaster might encourage another solicitor to take up the fight before her case becomes time-barred on July 24.
She said: “That place needs to be shut down before someone is killed.”
M&D’s said all their staff are trained in evacuation procedures and their response to this incident was immediate.
They added: “Every ride is safety checked on a daily basis and undergoes a thorough independent inspection every 12 months.
"Additional safety checks are carried out on rides that have been stopped before they are re-started.”