Eight children are being treated for “potentially serious injuries” after an inflatable slide collapsed at a fireworks funfair, police have said.
Surrey Police declared a “major incident” at Woking Fireworks after multiple children fell from the “giant inflatable slide” at about 7.30pm on Saturday.
The air ambulance helped transport one of the patients to “major trauma centres” after the incident in Woking Park on Saturday evening, South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) said.
One witness said he was concerned earlier that evening when he saw up to 40 children playing on the “flimsy” slide at once.
Chief inspector Steve Schulten said: “A number of children fell from the slide and suffered injuries.
“Eight children have been taken to hospital by South East Coast Ambulance Service with potentially serious injuries.”
He added the Health and Safety Executive has been informed of the incident.
Secamb had “multiple crews” at the scene of the “significant incident”.
The patients were being transported to “major trauma centres” in London with the help of the air ambulance, a statement added.
Andy Datson, 23, said he saw up to 40 children playing on slide, which he estimated was about 30-foot tall at its highest.
“We had been walking past the slide earlier in the night and said it looked unsafe. It looked pretty flimsy to say the least,” he said.
“There were far too many kids on it. It didn’t look like it could hold that many people.”
The journalist, who lives in Guildford, Surrey, said that he noticed the flashing lights of ambulances after walking off with friends.
“I immediately thought that’s going to be the slide,” he said.
“It looked like there were too many children on it and the side area had given way.
“If, heaven forbid, they fell from the top I would say it’s at least 25 to 30 feet tall.”
Oliver Trimble told the BBC that the evacuation was announced over the event’s loudspeakers shortly before 8pm, when the fireworks were due to begin.
He said he saw victims being treated by medics, adding: “It was quite a horrendous sight to see.”
“This is one of Woking’s biggest events of the year, thousands of people come to see the fireworks,” he said.
Most of our staff are now stood down from the earlier incident at #Woking Park, although it remains a busy Saturday night for us across Kent, Surrey & Sussex! V proud, as always, of all our staff working hard tonight on the road, in EOCs & 111 & in vital support services— South East Coast Ambulance Service (@SECAmbulance) November 3, 2018
Local musician Anna Neale said she was among the hundreds of people who evacuated the park, which had been packed with families with young children.
The 36-year-old said: “We saw all the blue lights and saw the air ambulance arriving. We all evacuated very calmly. Everyone was just shocked.”
She had planned to take her daughters, aged 10 and six, on the giant slide after the fireworks.
She said: “I am very grateful my children didn’t go on it, let’s just put it that way.”
We have had to evacuate the whole #Woking Park site to allow the air ambulance to land. If you are still in the area, please follow the instructions given to you by officers and make your way home.— Surrey Police (@SurreyPolice) November 3, 2018
Woking District Rotary Club, the event’s organisers, said it was “shocked and distressed” by the collapse.
The park will remain closed into Sunday as police investigate the cause of the incident, the club added.
Surrey Police have advised us that @Wokingpark will probably remain closed to the public tomorrow morning whilst they continue to investigate the causes of tonightâs accident— Woking Fireworks (@wokingfireworks) November 3, 2018
A Health and Safety Executive spokeswoman said “initial enquiries” were being made.
A Woking Borough Council spokesman said: “We will be working with the police and relevant authorities to understand and explain what happened.”