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Four people injured on West Midland Safari Park ride

By Dayna Farrington | Bewdley | Attractions | Published:

Four people were injured in an accident on a water ride at West Midland Safari Park.

The dislodged boat on the Wild River Rafting ride at West Midlands Safari Park. Photo: Georgia Hodgkiss

Emergency services were called to the Bewdley-based attraction on Sunday afternoon where a boat on the Wild River Rafting was said to have “turned upside down”.

West Midland Safari Park said it overturned due to "excessive movement inside the boat". A spokesman said after reviewing CCTV and speaking with their health and safety team, the ride will remain open for us.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed a woman was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for “injuries not believed to be serious”.

Georgia Hodgkiss, from Sutton Coldfield, who was visiting the attraction with her family on Sunday, said she heard a “bang” and saw the dinghy on the ride had turned over at around 2.45pm.

The 22-year-old said: “I did not see it happen properly, but I heard it – I heard a bang. I was stood near to where you queue for the Wild River Rafting ride and I saw the four people coming from under the dinghy which had turned over. There was four of them coming from underneath, they were drenched. They looked so confused and they just looked in shock.

“They managed to get out and they were then stood on the side where you normally get on the ride. The park closed the ride down and got everyone out of the queue.

West Midland Safari Park

“I was just in shock really. I did not know what was going on – then I realised it had capsized.”

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She said it looked like the group included a mother, grandparent and two children – possibly in their early teens.

Ms Hodgkiss added: “The park was really busy on Sunday, it was a lot busier than I expected it to be. I have been visiting every year since I was a child, particularly during the summer months, and I had never seen it so busy.

“We ended up leaving at around 3.15pm and we saw the ambulance pulling into the park.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 2.54pm on Sunday to West Midland Safari Park, in Bewdley.

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“One ambulance attended and treated one woman who was being cared for by safari park staff after reportedly being injured on a water ride. The woman was assessed and given treatment on scene for injuries not believed to be serious before she was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital for further checks.”

A West Midland Safari Park spokesperson said: “On Sunday, September 6, at approximately 2:45pm, an incident took place on our popular Wild River Rafting ride which resulted in four guests being treated by the emergency services for minor injuries. Upon entering the final section of the ride, a water vessel containing the four passengers overturned in the shallow water trough due to excessive movement inside the boat.

“Our staff reacted immediately by bringing the ride to a stop and safely removed the four guests, following the strict protocols we have in place. All four people were checked over straight away by our First Aid responders, and the emergency services were contacted for further review.

“One of the four guests was later transported to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, while the other three guests were able to leave the park at their own accord to travel home. We remain in contact with all four guests to check on their wellbeing.

“Following the incident, and after investigating CCTV footage and speaking with our health and safety team, we can confirm that the safety of the ride has not been compromised in any way and it will remain open for guests to use. All our rides operate with clear health and safety signage and our staff are given regular training in operational management on a routine basis.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the emergency services for their assistance on Sunday, and to our staff who reacted calmly and quickly to the situation at hand. The park remains open as normal to the public.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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