The condition of a 7-year-old boy who reportedly fell from a rollercoaster at an amusement park in the UK has taken a turn for the worse.
Witnesses cited by the BBC said the child tumbled from the Twister rollercoaster at the Lightwater Valley park, located near Ripon, North Yorkshire, on Thursday, May 30. The child reportedly fell about 15 feet before hitting the ground.
The boy was airlifted to an area hospital following the accident. According to the Metro, the boy’s injuries on Thursday were deemed non-life threatening and he was conscious before being transported to the hospital.
In a tragic turn, the North Yorkshire Police said in a statement on Friday that the boy’s condition had changed overnight and he “is now described as critical.”
“On arrival at hospital, the child was assessed and found to have injuries that would not have been apparent at the scene of the incident,” police said.
“The child remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.”
Reports From the Scene
The Daily Mail reported that Lightwater Valley park visitor Mark Charnley said he saw the boy was hanging out of the back of the ride.
“Me and my eldest daughter were in the queue for the Twister ride, which is like a rollercoaster but with individual spinning carriages,” Charnley said, according to the report. “We were about 10 minutes from the front of the queue when we saw the little lad hanging out of the back of his carriage.”
“His head was well behind the back of it and he was out of his restraints,” Charnley continued, adding, “He was in the carriage with his mum, who was screaming hysterically.”
“Everyone in the queue was shouting for the ride operator to stop the ride for about 10 to 15 seconds but they didn’t seem to have noticed. Then the boy must have fallen about 15 feet,” Charnley said.
“We jumped over the barrier to try and help and one man identified himself as an off-duty police officer and he sort of took over.”
— Mirror Breaking News (@MirrorBreaking_) May 31, 2019
A witness cited by the Metro said that she heard a group of people shouting at the operator to stop the ride.
Lara-Susan James, who was standing in line for the rollercoaster with her children, said: “It was at that moment I realized something was wrong. I saw the operator apply the emergency stop.”
“When the ride stopped, the family jumped the barriers and went to the kid.”
In a statement, Lightwater Valley said on Friday: “We have been informed by North Yorkshire Police that the medical condition of the child involved in the incident at the park yesterday has deteriorated overnight and he is now in a critical condition.
“We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family.
“While the Health and Safety Executive investigation is continuing, we will support them and be guided by their advice.”
We have been informed by North Yorkshire Police that the medical condition of the child involved in the incident at the park yesterday is now described as critical. We are devastated by this news and our thoughts are with the family.
— Lightwater Valley (@LightwaterV) May 31, 2019
10-Year-Old Dies on Giant Waterslide
The incident recalls the case of a 10-year-old girl whose excitement to ride a giant water slide for the first time triggered a dormant heart condition, leading to the little girl’s tragic death.
London Eisenbeis, 10, had waited for two years to be tall enough to ride the 270-foot Super Loop Speed Slide at a water park in Michigan, the Daily Mail reported. When she finally went to ride the slide in February last year with her parents and sister, tragedy struck.
“London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest,” Tina Eisenbeis told The Sun. “The excitement threw her rhythm.”
London’s heart was thrown into an abnormal rhythm as her adrenaline spiked. She went into cardiac arrest as she dropped down the four-story slide.
The girl’s family were unaware at the time that London had been living with a heart condition—Long QT Syndrome.
“There were no signs of the condition, she just dropped,” Eisenbeis told the outlet. “The day before she had been doing flips in the air.”
London’s mother realized something was wrong after hearing a whistle going off and children and parents evacuating the pools.
When she walked over to find out the source of the commotion, a parent’s worst nightmare became her reality.
“[My husband] was looking down and there were sheets up and I knew it was one of my kids,” she told the outlet. “It was an awful thing.”
London was transported to hospital, where she remained for nine days on life support.
The little girl sadly passed away on Feb. 27.
Since the little girl’s death, her parents have established a non-profit foundation called London Strong, which offers CPR training classes raises funds for defibrillators to be fitted in locations around the community.
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This Foundation was created in memory of London Eisenbeis who passed away from Long QT heart condition. We are a (501(C)3 nonprofit organization that brings focus to Long QT and other heart related conditions in order to save lives. We will accomplish this by stressing the importance of heart screening for children and emphasizing the importance of CPR/AED training. To do this we offer CPR/AED classes for a small cost, as well as refresher courses. With the help of you, we are able to place AED’s throughout the community in an effort to save lives. London had a love of animals, especially cats, so the foundation will also make charitable donations to pet rescues. #londonstrongfoundation #londonstrong💙 #aeds #aedssavelives #aed #cpr #cprsaveslives #cpr #londoneisenbeis #longqtsyndrome #childheart #heartscreening #heartscreeningssavelives
She hopes the work of the foundation—and spreading the word of the circumstances of her daughter’s tragic death—can save lives.