A grandfather claims a serious accident at Gulliver’s Kingdom could be inevitable after staff failed to fasten the safety harness on his granddaughter’s chairlift – then let him climb a 30-foot ladder in a botched rescue bid.
Disgruntled granddad Kevin Draper visited the Matlock Bath theme park with his wife and five-year-old granddaughter on Saturday for a day of family fun.
But fun soon turned to horror when they boarded the chairlift.
Mr Draper said: “The operator failed to secure the protective guard, and the ride was allowed to continue. I was behind a locked safety gate, meaning I had to watch the whole horror unfold before my eyes.”
Mr Draper said the operator applied the ride’s emergency stop under his “panicked” instruction. He said: “This left my wife and granddaughter suspended at around 30-feet, still without the safety guard.
“It was obvious from the panicked state of the operator that [in my view]there was no risk assessment or safety procedure that he could adopt.”
Mr Draper said staff radioed for a ladder, but he suggested a fixed ladder nearby could reach his family.
He said: “The operator said he was not allowed to scale the ladder, but gave me permission to do so.”
Mr Draper climbed up to his family, but said his actions “only served to cause greater distress and panic”, so climbed back down upon their instruction.
A Theme Park employee then climbed up and persuaded Mrs Draper to pull the safety harness down herself.
The ride was then re-started, and the pair were safely transported to the bottom of the ride.
Mr Draper said: “If these issues are not addressed, there will be a fatal accident at this theme park.”
A spokesperson for Gulliver’s said: “An incident occurred over the weekend which we subsequently reported to the HSE. We have written to the family to let them know we are gathering all the facts and conducting a full internal investigation.
“We have fully up-to-date safety procedures and risk assessments in place and ride inspections are carried out both internally and by external industry experts for every single ride. First aid from multiple trained personnel was, and is, available at all times.
“Fortunately, no one was injured, [and] the family stayed on park to enjoy the rest of their day.
“We take matters of customer safety very seriously and we will continue to co-operate fully with the family and the HSE to investigate this matter. We apologise to the family for any distress caused.”