Dad blasts ‘dangerous’ theme park after ‘broken down ride left kids screaming’

A furious dad has blasted a “dangerous” theme park after his family attended an opening day where, he says, people were "screaming" after being left stuck mid-air on a malfunctioning rollercoaster.

Dean Mann claims rides started late and broke down and he suffered a near miss on the dodgems at Funderland in Bristol.

The 32-year-old took his family to the Hengrove Park fairground last Tuesday (June 2) – the same day a spinning ride allegedly started while a six-year-old boy was not protected by a safety bar, the Mirror reports.

Dean, of Knowle, said, "My family tried to make the best of it, but the day was a failure. My worry is how dangerous the park seemed to be when we were there."

It comes two years after a 26-year-old man broke five bones – including both hips – when his legs went through metal railings at the bottom of a ramp while getting off a ride at Funderworld on The Downs.

Asked if there is a concern over safety at the fairground, a Funderworld spokeswoman said it was "not possible to comment on alleged incidents", but tight controls are in place to ensure safety standards are "maintained to a high level".

Dean and partner Becky paid £15.99 each for entry to the fairground, while tickets for the five children cost £12.99 each.

The first ride, Dean told Bristol Live, started about 15 minutes late. He went on the rollercoaster with two of his children and noticed the seats were "covered in bird poo", he claims.

Dean, a first aid community advocate, said: "My family and I were in a cart on the ground at the point when the ride broke down. There was a family screaming at the top of the ride.

"We were trying to work out what was going on. When that family had got to the top, the whole thing had shut down.

"The operator was rushing around, and I asked him what was going on. He said the sensors are faulty and sometimes they switch off.

"The family at the top were 25 to 30ft in the air. It was a man and three young girls. They were screaming for a little bit, they panicked and didn't know what was going on."

"The operator was telling people to keep shuffling in their cart to get it moving again. He was bashing on buttons. It took at least 15 minutes for the ride to get going again.

"This was our first ride. We went in, and you don't really expect that. That was a big red flag but we'd paid for four hours so we thought we'd press on.”

He says that a dodgems ride was started up while his seven-year-old daughter was still getting into the car – "There had been no safety checks. The man didn't check where the children were,” he said.

He added that he spoke to a member of staff, who didn’t appear to understand him.

"I was so angry," Dean said. "It was by mere luck my daughter didn't get hit. She's only seven."

Dean says he posted a complaint about his experience on the Funderworld Facebook page, but he claims this was deleted. He feels his voice has been "silenced".

A Funderworld spokeswoman said: "It is not possible to comment on alleged incidents. There are policies, processes and procedures which enable people to resolve their issue or have it duly processed by the appropriate authorities and agencies.

"The leisure and entertainment industry is tightly controlled to ensure safety standards are maintained to a high level. They also protect either party from unsubstantiated claims or cover ups."

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