Rollercoaster crash injures eight children and two adults
Eight children and two adults have been taken to hospital after a rollercoaster derailed and crashed to the ground at a theme park in Scotland.
Witnesses said the Tsunami ride at M&D's amusement park at Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, had been full when it came off the track around 15:40.
Police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene as several visitors posted images on social media appearing to show a mangled carriage on a pathway surrounded by dozens of people.
Those injured were taken to nearby hospitals including the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow although details of injuries or conditions have not been released.
Six ambulance crews, a specialist operation team and emergency doctors had rushed to the scene.
Witness Katie Burns said she had just finished riding the Tsunami rollercoaster and was walking past when the carriage crashed with children on board.
On Facebook, she said: "Literally got off the Tsunami at M&Ds and then walking past and the next lot of people get on and the full thing goes off the tracks.
"Kids and adults are still on it upside down, it's like something out a horror film, children crying and everything.
"Literally can't believe this, my heart goes out to everyone on it, a full load came off the track but and on the pavement, like a horror film worse thing ever heard and seen, can't get over this."
A video posted on social media showed the confused aftermath of the crash, with staff warning the crowds to give emergency services room to work.
At the scene Chief Inspector David Bruce said: "Along with other emergency services we attended immediately and on arrival it became clear that a series of five gondolas connected on a train on the Tsunami ride have detached from the rails, struck the superstructure and then struck the ground.
"We have launched an investigation and an inquiry between Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)."
Mr Bruce added: "They (the gondolas) fell less than 20 feet. It would appear that they have been coming round a bend and at that point it has detached. At this stage it's very, very early in the inquiry and we are still taking witness statements but the gondola had been in operation on the rollercoaster and it would appear that it has been coming round a bend.
"It's an inverted rollercoaster which means that the riders hang in gondolas below the rails rather than sit above them.
"It would appear to come off as it has come round a corner. It struck the ground but it hadn't struck anything on the ground.
"I don't know what speed it would have been travelling but it was operating and rollercoasters do travel at speed."
In one image, taken by Dean Borris, people can be seen trapped upside down in their seats on the carriage, with their legs protruding into the air.
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "My thoughts are with everyone involved in this terrible incident at M&D's theme park, especially those injured."
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, said: "Awful news coming from M&Ds. Deeply concerning - our thoughts are with those affected and with emergency responders."
Richard Lyle MSP, whose constituency includes Strathclyde Country Park where the theme park is situated, visited the scene shortly after the incident.
He told the Press Association: "I will be ensuring, as the local MSP, that all that has to be done will be done. I thought it only right to go along and offer help if I could."
A spokesman for the theme park's operators M&D's said: "As a family-run business, our thoughts are with those who have been injured and their families. We wish everyone a full recovery.
"We are co-operating fully with Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on their joint investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident."
Another witness James Millerick, who was queuing for another rollercoaster at the theme park, said he heard "shrieks" from customers.
"When we got there the rollercoaster had come off the track entirely - straight through the gated fence at the side of the rollercoaster and was upside down on the concrete path at the side," he told Sky News.
"There were maybe seven or eight individuals, mostly of younger age between maybe 10 and 15 years old that were actually trapped inside the rollercoaster lying on the ground. The harnesses were still on as well so there was absolutely no movement."
According to the M&D's website, the Tsunami rollercoaster can go at speeds of up to 40mph through corkscrew turns and loops.
Children under 10 are not allowed to use the ride, and under 14s must be accompanied by a paying adult.
It is not the first time the park has had problems with its rides, including Tsunami.
In July 2011, nine passengers, including children, were stranded for more than eight hours when it came to a halt 60 feet above the ground.
A spokesman at the time said the ride's lift chain broke causing its safety systems to bring the carriages to a halt.
And in March this year, eight people had to be rescued by firefighters in a cherry picker after the Tornado rollercoaster stopped working around 20 feet off the ground.