Yorkshire theme park closes ride after US teen death

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A NORTH Yorkshire theme park has closed one of its rides after a teenager died on a similar ride in the US.

The Eagle’s Claw ride at Lightwater Valley in North Stainley near Ripon is one of six theme park rides across the UK that have been closed following the incident at the Ohio State Fair on July 26.

Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old high school student, died when a swinging and spinning ride called the Fire Ball broke apart. Seven other people were injured, some critically.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said five of the rides were re-inspected and temporarily taken out of use after the incident, and the sixth, the Lightwater Valley ride, was closed independently of the HSE.

The park said its Eagle’s Claw ride was not running, telling visitors: “Due to circumstances beyond our control this ride is currently closed, apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Three of the closed rides are at Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Suffolk, Coney Beach Fair in Porthcawl, South Wales, and Brean Theme Park in Somerset, the HSE said.

A fourth is operated by Ryan Crow Amusements at funfairs in the North East, and a ride owned by a Joseph Manning in Hertfordshire has also been served with a prohibition enforcement notice.

The HSE said it was aware of the “tragic accident” involving the KMG Afterburner, which was themed as Fire Ball in Columbus, Ohio.

A spokeswoman said: “There are six machines of this version operating in the UK which were all thoroughly inspected within the last 12 months in line with agreed procedures.

“There is no verified information regarding the immediate cause of the US accident. Following the incident, HSE initiated a re-inspection of these machines.

“As a result, on Friday 28 July an enforcement notice was served on five of the machines, which are now to be taken out of use until the notices have been complied with.

“The sixth, at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire, was immediately taken out of use following the incident in Ohio.

“This was a decision taken independently by the operator. Lightwater Valley has agreed to keep this machine out of use until the other five notices have been complied with.”

The HSE said it understood a letter had been sent to operators of all similar machines operating in the UK and that some owners may have closed rides “as a precautionary measure”.

It added: “HSE will ensure operators are kept abreast of information as it arrives and will take such action as is necessary to ensure the rides are inspected and tested as necessary to ensure safety.”