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‘It was terrifying’: Eyewitnesses share their shock at Carrickfergus ride malfunction

Six people, including three children, were taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries

Eyewitnesses have expressed their horror after a number of children were injured on a Carrickfergus fairground ride which swung beyond its perimeter and struck a number of signs belonging to the structure.

Six of those injured were taken to hospital, including three children.

A number of people were treated for injuries at the scene but no one is in a critical condition.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it received a 999 call at 5.53pm on Saturday reporting that a ride had collapsed.

Four emergency crews, a rapid response paramedic and an ambulance officer were all despatched to the scene.

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Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

A spokesperson for the NIAS said: “Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, two patients have been taken to Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, two to Royal Victoria Hospital, one adult to Antrim Area Hospital and one child to Antrim Area Hospital - none with life threatening injuries.

“A number of patients were discharged at the scene. It is not anticipated that any others will require hospital attendance.”

A number of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) appliances and specialist search units were also present, as well as the PSNI and Air Ambulance NI.

The ride that malfunctioned at the Planet Fun attraction at Carrickfergus Castle is called ‘Star Flyer’. It spins its occupants in circles as it rises up to 40ft in the air.

A spokesperson for Planet Fun, which has a council licence to operate the funfair, said at "no stage did the ride collapse".

“We immediately sought assistance from the NI Ambulance Service," Planet Fun continued.

“We have also reported the incident to the Health and Safety Executive and will co-operate fully with the agency to understand exactly what happened.

“Health and safety is central to all operations at Planet Fun and will offer whatever assistance is required to those customers affected.”

Planet Fun said it will make no further comment until the Health and Safety Executive completes its investigation.

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Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Lee Toner, who had been at the funfair with his girlfriend, said horrified parents rushed to help their children who had been left stranded on the ride.

In a post on Facebook he said: “No one go near Planet Fun at Carrickfergus! Me and Arlene Trainor had just left the swings and they started going all over the place hitting the fences knocking lights off.

“At least four kids were split open! Absolutely stinking!”

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Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

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Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

A number of stunned parents took to social media to express their shock and anger at what happened after their children were injured on the ride.

Emma Roberts said: “I was on the ride with all my children, one very badly hurt, one has a hurt ankle and one is in bad shock. Absolutely terrifying will never be back.”

Fellow mum Zara McGeown added: “My husband, daughter and other family members were on the ride, it was terrifying.”

Eyewitness Alison Johnston said: “One of the swings snapped and caused all the swings to bash into each other throwing people into the signs and the other swings,” with fellow attendee Julie Allen adding: “Genuinely the scariest thing I have ever witnessed in my LIFE.”

DUP councillor John McDermott, who was present at the scene, told the Belfast Telegraph that children were thrown from the ride out onto the ground and on to the grass.

He said the ride had got to about 15ft in the air before the incident occurred.

“Everyone is stunned," continued Mr McDermott. "There’s people walking about here in total shock.

“It looks like everyone has been reunited. There’s a crowd of kids here and they've phoned their mums and dads and they're on their way to pick them up.”

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Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services at the scene of a funfair ride collapse in Carrickfergus on July, 24 2021 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Geoff Somerville from the NIFRS said approximately 200 people were in attendance at the Carrickfergus Castle attraction and about 10 people were injured “possibly” by the ride.

“Two people have been taken to hospital by ambulance, two taken to hospital by parents and eight people have superficial injuries and are getting treated on the scene,” stated Mr Somerville.

“They have neck pain, back pain, leg pain and cuts.

“We are still in attendance. Three appliances are there as well as our specialist rescue team, emergency support service.

“The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.”

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said his thoughts are with all of those who were injured in the incident and thanked the emergency services who attended.

Health Minister Robin Swann wished everyone who was injured a speedy recovery.


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