Chard Carnival worker seriously injured

Incident scene
Image caption The incident happened near Tesco on Tapstone Road at about 22:00 BST

A woman was seriously injured when she fell under a carnival cart at a parade in Somerset.

The road crew member became trapped under the vehicle at the end of the parade at about 22:00 BST on Saturday during the Chard Carnival.

Police said the woman, believed to be in her 40s, suffered life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to Bristol's Southmead hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive has started an investigation.

At the scene

BBC Somerset reporter Andy Bennett

I was involved in the carnival, and there were various whispers towards the end of the procession that there had been an incident involving a club.

Whilst walking back to my car, I saw the air ambulance circling overhead, and when I arrived back to where my car was parked, the road leading towards the dispersal area was closed, with fire crews and ambulances in attendance.

The other entries in the carnival were sent via a different route to keep the area clear.

In the 20 years that I've been involved with Chard Carnival I've never seen anything like this happen.

The attention to detail when it comes to the health and safety of crowds and carnival performers is second to none.

Avon and Somerset Police Ch Insp John Holt said: "We believe this to have been an unusual and exceptional incident which happened at the end of the carnival parade.

"We will be looking into the circumstances, but do not anticipate it will have any impact on other carnivals planned over the next few weeks."

In a statement, Chard Carnival committee described it as "a freak accident" and said its thoughts were with the injured woman and her family.

"The carnival community is shocked by the incident in what was otherwise a well organised and well run event," it added.

The woman, who is a member of Eclipse Carnival Club based in Chard, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Image caption In a statement, Chard Carnival committee described it as "a freak accident"
Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Chard Carnival is an illuminated procession which takes place in October ever year

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