M&D’s, otherwise known as Scotland’s Theme Park, saw a particularly serious incident this past week, as seven children and two adults were injured on one of the rollercoasters. It has since arisen that the safety of the park may be called into question, as it has been revealed that the park has paid more than £100,000 in compensation in the last 5 years following safety breeches.
Latest in a long line
The latest incident (which took place on the 26th July) involved one of the rollercoasters coming loose and derailing while in motion. In total 10 people were taking to hospital; one woman was discharged after being assessed, while six children were taken to hospital. Of the children hospitalised, three were kept in for observation while three were in a serious condition. The remaining passengers were adults who were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for further observation.
When questioned, the park’s Director, Mr Douglas Taylor, insisted the park and its rides were safe for use. He said that rides were “safety checked on a daily basis” and underwent “a thorough independent inspection every 12 months”.
On ride footage of the tsunami rollercoaster
£100,000 over 5 years
Unfortunately for the park, this incident is not isolated, as a series of safety breaches over the last 5 years has forced the park to pay out over £100,000 in compensation to various victims of similar accidents.
Past incidents include the two rescues. Back in March eight people required rescuing when firefighters were called, after a rollercoaster came to a standstill. A second rescue back in 2011 involved the same rollercoaster affected this past week (the tsunami); when it broke down and left 11 passengers stranded for over 2 hours.
Staff at the park have also spoken of past incidents of injury, including rides behaving “erratically” and coming to a quick halt, injuring those on board. One such incident involved the log flume, where a passenger was thrown into a barricade wall. All incidents have resulted in large compensation payouts to victims totaling just over £100,000.
“Public Liability Nightmare”
Rollercoasters are expected to be built to operate safely. They work day in day out when in season and expect to run hundreds of times continually every day. Situations such as those where ride passengers have been thrown or carriages have disconnected can cause huge liability problems for park owners.
The nightmare for M&D’s in this incident involves the fact that the majority of those injured were children. In the UK, the majority of visitors to parks are aged under 18 with families and groups of young adults being the most common customers. Damage to a child’s body can be much more severe than the same injury to a developed adult.
Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, spoke to us about the risks involved when a theme park ride fails:
“Theme parks require most stringent safely guidelines of any public premises. The risks involved, should safety standards not be kept, can be life changing if not fatal as we saw last summer with the crash at Alton Towers, where a group of young people required amputations.
Bearing in mind the fact so many young people without fully developed bodies attend parks each year, safety should be held in the highest regard, no questions asked. Not keeping patrons safe can create a public liability minefield as M&D’s may be about to find out following the aftermath of this latest incident.”
While the victims in the latest incident are still recovering and the relevant authorities are investigating, we cannot determine the extent of damage to the park and those involved this incident has caused. Should injuries to the children in hospital prove serious, we could see heavy implications for M&D. Regardless of the outcome; the incident has proven to be another to add to the increasingly common occurrences at Scotland’s Theme Park.