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Drayton Manor theme park operators fined £1m over death of girl, 11, on water rapids ride

Written by on 18/03/2021

The operators of Drayton Manor theme park have been fined £1m over safety failings which led to the death of an 11-year-old girl on its water rapids ride.

Evha Jannath was propelled from a vessel on the Splash Canyon ride at the park in Staffordshire during a school trip with friends from Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester on 9 May 2017.

Lawyers for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against the park for not properly ensuring the safety of its guests.They said the operators oversaw “systemic failures of safety” on the river rapids ride.

Drayton Manor
Image: The operators of Drayton Manor theme park have been fined £1m over safety failings

Drayton Manor had admitted breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Sentencing Drayton Manor Theme Parks Ltd at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Spencer said: “This was an utterly tragic waste of a young life.”

The girl fell off the Splash Canyon ride at Drayton Manor
Image: Evha tried to climb up the travellator on the Splash Canyon ride but fell into the water and drowned

The judge said there was “no prospect of the fine being paid” given that the company operating the park at the time had since gone into administration.

But he added: “In my judgment, it would be wholly inappropriate to do other than impose the fine which the offence merited.

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“The public and Evha’s family must not be led to think that this serious offence, which resulted in the death of a child, can properly be met by only a nominal penalty.”

He added: “I bear in mind there are other similar rides in the United Kingdom, I bear in mind that this theme park has been sold to another operator and the staff transferred over.

“It is important that lessons are learned and the seriousness of the defendant company’s failing, in this case, is marked by an appropriate punishment.”

 Sky News

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