Glasgow & West Scotland

Rollercoaster crash: Children among 10 hurt at M&D's theme park

Media captionLorna Gordon: "There was silence followed by screaming"

Eight children and two adults have been injured after a rollercoaster derailed and crashed at a theme park in North Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Police said the injured were all being treated at local hospitals.

Six ambulances and six fire engines were at the M&D's park near Strathclyde Park, Motherwell, after being called at 15:37. It was evacuated shortly after.

One adult and one child are in a stable condition and three children are expected to be allowed home later.

The injured are being cared for at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Wishaw General and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, although details of their injuries have not been released.

The incident involved the Tsunami ride, which can travel at up to 40mph through corkscrew turns and loops. One eyewitness said "people were trapped upside down on the ride" following the crash.

Police Scotland revised down the number of injured from its initial estimate of 11 and confirmed there were nine passengers on the ride at the time.

Image copyright Faye Donnelly
Image copyright Demi Campbell

Ch Insp David Bruce of Police Scotland said: "On arrival it became clear a series of five gondolas connected on a train on the Tsunami ride have detached from the rails, struck the superstructure and then struck the ground.

"They [the gondolas] fell less than 20 feet. It would appear that they have been coming round a bend and at that point it has detached.

"It's an inverted rollercoaster which means that the riders hang in gondolas below the rails rather than sit above them.

Mr Bruce could not say what speed the passengers had been travelling at when the carriage left the rails, but he confirmed it "hadn't struck anything on the ground".


'People were crying with shock'

Caitlin Barnes, 13, had been on the ride twice during a day out to the park with three friends. She was standing nearby when it crashed.

She said: "I heard first of all a loud bang. At first I thought it was part of the ride because it had been a very loud ride the whole day.

"But when I turned around to look at it I saw the carriage just hurtling to the ground and then it crashed on top of another ride.

"I could see that there was lots of people trapped - probably up to 10 - and I saw a girl upside down, stuck.

"A lot of people in the park ran over and tried to help and there was loads of people just running about trying to tell people to call ambulances and call emergency services.

"When the emergency services got here they were just shouting at us all to leave the park and they evacuated the whole park and cordoned off around the carriage.

"I saw one boy who was probably about 11, I would have said, who got out and he was sitting just next to it - shocked obviously - with his parents.

"Everybody was shocked and upset and a lot of them were crying with shock."


Image copyright Demi Campbell

'Children crying'

The theme park is now closed but Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) remain on site this evening.

A joint investigation is being conducted by police and the HSE.

Eyewitness Katie Burns said she had just finished riding the Tsunami and was walking past when the carriage crashed with children on board.

On Facebook, she said: "Literally got off the Tsunami at M&Ds and then walking past and the next lot of people get on and the full thing goes off the tracks.

"Honestly never been so scared in my life, with this weather they should not be on.

"Kids and adults are still on it upside down, it's like something out a horror film, children crying and everything.

"Literally can't believe this, my heart goes out to everyone on it, a full load came off the track and on the pavement, like a horror film worse thing ever heard and seen, can't get over this."

Image copyright M&D's
Image caption The Tsunami, pictured previously, is one of the fastest rides at the park

'Terrible accident'

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said: "My thoughts are with everyone involved in this terrible incident at M&D's theme park, especially those injured."

And Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, said: "Awful news coming from M&Ds. Deeply concerning - our thoughts are with those affected and with emergency responders."

Richard Lyle MSP, whose constituency includes Strathclyde Country Park where the theme park is situated, called for a "full investigation" into the incident, saying he was "horrified at this terrible accident".

It is not the first time the park has experienced problems with its rides, including Tsunami.

Nine passengers, including children, were stranded for eight hours on the ride in July 2011 when it came to a halt 60 ft (18.2m) above the ground. The malfunction was blamed on a broken lift chain.

In March, eight people had to be rescued by firefighters when the park's Tornado rollercoaster ground to a halt 20 ft (6m) in the air.


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