Funfair: stricter rules for schools

2013-06-01 00:00

PRELIMINARY investigations on the “Music Box” ride at the Royal Show are near completion, but early indications are that the ride is safe.

Simphiwe Mbense (five) died of head injuries at the Royal Show fairground on Thursday. It is believed that a frightened Simphiwe had stood up in his cart on the “Music Box” ride just as it started, and was hit by another cart.

An expert team with engineers from Pretoria, Durban and Pietermaritzburg and the Department of Labour are investigating the freak accident.

The CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society, Terry Strachan, is determined that a thorough investigation of the ride will take place.

“In a meeting with the police we have determined that it is impossible to get completely out of the cart once strapped in. It is, however, possible with some difficulty to manoeuvre yourself out enough to disembark,” he said.

“The little boy was probably frightened and that urgency he felt would have made it possible for him to stand in the cart, fall and be struck by the car behind.”

Stricter rules will be put into place with school outings hosting young children.

Strachan said: “In future a policy will be implemented whereby no school groups entering the grounds where the children are nine years or younger, will be permitted access, unless there is a minimum ratio of six children for every teacher.”

Despite the accident and the “Music Box” being closed, the rest of the funfair continued yesterday. Some fair-goers were unaware of what had happened, and those who did know were not deterred by the accident.

Belinda Senooane, who accompanied her little niece to the show, said: “It is a very horrible accident and I feel very sad for the family, but this will not deter me from coming back here. Accidents sometimes happen and it’s out of our control. Just because a car crashed on the road doesn’t mean we must all stop driving.”

Some parents took the accident as a warning and an example to help children understand the importance of safety.

Janine Malyon, who was at the fair with her children, said: “It does make you think about the safety of your kids. Make sure you give them a talking to so they understand to make sure they are safe.”

Some people are worried about the safety of all the rides at the fair. Angelina Smith feels that a proper investigation needs to be done.

Smith said: “Our three-year-old wanted to go on the shells by herself. She got onto the rides and was alone. My 12-year-old daughter and I were still giving our tickets in when the gentleman started the ride. I had to tell him to stop because she could not go on by herself and that we were joining her.”


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