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Family wants girl’s Drayton Manor death to spur theme parks safety boost

Evha Jannath, 11, died after falling from the park’s Splash Canyon ride.

A family wants to get to the truth of their daughter’s theme park death to prevent others suffering similar heartbreak, MPs have heard.

Labour former minister Keith Vaz said the family of Evha Jannath, 11, are “concerned at potential negligence” leading to her death, which occurred after she fell from the Splash Canyon ride while visiting Drayton Manor theme park in Tamworth.

The Commons heard eyewitnesses said Evha tried to walk towards the vessel after she fell into the water but received “no help and was eventually sucked under the water” despite her friends calling for help.

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Evha Jannath, 11, died of chest injuries after she fell from a water ride at Drayton Manor theme park (Staffordshire Police)

Mr Vaz said Evha’s family, who live in his Leicester East constituency, remain “shocked and in mourning”.

But he said her father wants no other families to be “hit by a tragic event like this again”, adding they deserve nothing less than the truth.

Mr Vaz also suggested potential changes to improve theme park safety, including by ensuring children under 12 must be “accompanied by an adult at all times” on such rides while it should be a “priority” to have them “adequately staffed”.

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Mourners at the funeral of Evha Jannath in Leicester (Ben Birchall/PA)

A law change is needed to lift the “woefully low” £15,000 cap on bereavement damages for death of a child, Mr Vaz added.

Work and Pensions minister Penny Mordaunt said Drayton Manor’s procedures for responding to emergencies at the Splash Canyon ride will be examined as part of the investigation. Ms Mordaunt promised “appropriate action” will be taken if the investigation exposes any breaches of the law.

Leading a Commons debate on theme park safety, Mr Vaz said of the family: “To lose a child is horrific and yet to use that loss in a way that means there will be positive change so that things can be improved for others is, in my view, nothing short of heroic.

“Having spoken to Evha’s father Muhammed Islam I know he is set on ensuring that no other families are hit by a tragic event like this again.”

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Keith Vaz praised the family of Evha Jannath (Danny Lawson/PA)

He went on: “For this close-knit and loving family no minute will go past, no day will go by, and no birthday will fail to be acknowledged without longing for their daughter, sister and niece.

“They will never hear little Evha chatting and laughing. They will never be able to see her lovely face. And that is why they want to get to the truth of what has happened, and they deserve nothing less.”

Ms Mordaunt, replying for the Government, said there was no date yet for the Health and Safety Executive report.

She added: “I can confirm that Drayton Manor’s procedures for responding to emergencies at this ride, including their arrangements for identifying and rescuing anyone who falls into the water, will be examined as part of the investigation, and that the ride remains closed whilst this investigation takes place.”

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