Runaway landau terror

editorial image
29
Have your say

A shocked family today told of their terror after a runaway horse dragged them for a mile-and-a-half along Blackpool Promenade in an out-of-control landau.

Peter Thornhill, 64, who was in the carriage with his wife and three young grandchildren, told The Gazette: “I thought we weren’t going to get out alive.”

Max, 8, Cole, 10, and Jack, 11, (pictured left to right) were on a landau with their grandparents Peter and Joanna Thornhill when the horse went out of control.

Max, 8, Cole, 10, and Jack, 11, (pictured left to right) were on a landau with their grandparents Peter and Joanna Thornhill when the horse went out of control.

Two other young children – one of them in a pram – were bowled over by the horse after it became spooked and took off at speed along the Prom.

Mr Thornhill, who had brought his grandsons – aged eight, 10 and 11 – to the resort for a day-trip during half-term to see the Illuminations, said the driver was flung from the landau when it mounted the pavement.

It was only after a brave bystander managed to grab hold of the reins and regain control that the wild ride was brought to a sudden end.

Mr Thornhill, from Runcorn, added: “The driver lost control completely.

“The landau mounted the pavement and the driver was thrown off the carriage, leaving my wife and I and the three grandchildren.

“We went on a ride for a mile-and-a-half down the Prom – it was a terrifying experience.”

Mr Thornhill, 64, who was in the carriage with his wife and three grandchildren, told The Gazette: “I thought we weren’t going to get out alive.”

Two young children, one of them in a pram, were injured after being bowled over by the horse, which had become spooked and took off at speed down the Prom.

Mr Thornhill, who had brought his grandsons – aged eight, 10 and 11 – to the resort for a day-trip during half-term to see the Illuminations, said the driver had been flung from the landau when it mounted the pavement.

It was only after a bystander managed to grab hold of the reins and regain control that the wild ride was brought to a sudden end.

Mr Thornhill, from Runcorn, added: “The driver lost control completely. It mounted the pavement and he was thrown off the carriage, leaving my wife and I and the three grandchildren.

“We went on a ride for a mile-and-a-half down the Prom – it was a terrifying experience. My wife, Joanna, had hold of two of the grandchildren and there was only myself and my oldest grandson, Jack, who were aware there was no driver.

“All I could envisage was at some point something was go-ing to hit the horse and mayhem would ensue or we would hit something and go head over heels.

“In the end a black cab taxi tried to cut across the horse to stop it. The horse swerved to avoid that but it caught the back wheel which slowed it enough for two guys to run up and get hold of the reins.

“They were able to bring the carriage to a halt.”

The landau was travelling north, between South Pier and Central Pier, when the horse become spooked.

It is not clear what caused the horse to lose control, although Mr Thornhill suggested the hissing of a nearby bus’s brakes may have contributed.

He said vehicles, including the taxi, had been damaged during the incident on Tuesday. The family were left shaken and bruised by their adventure, he added.

“The people who ran and got hold of the reins deserve some recognition,” he said.

“They were unbelievable.”

Paramedics were called to the seafront after an eight-month-old baby and a six-year-old boy were hurt during the horse’s rampage.

Sarah Campbell, of Widnes, contacted The Gazette to say it was her family that had been injured.

“I was pushing my daughter in her pram with my son alongside me and my husband behind us when a horse and carriage mounted the kerb,” she said.

“The horse was obviously in distress – I realised that it wasn’t going to stop.

“The horse then came at me head on. I managed to move my daughter out of the way as the horse headbutted me and knocked me to the ground.

“As the horse trampled on me it also hit my daughter’s pram, sending her hurtling across the pavement and turning her pram upside down. The carriage hit my

son and dragged him under – it rolled over his whole torso, managing to break his collar bone just centimetres away from his neck.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed they received a call just before 4pm on Tuesday and dispatched an ambulance, rapid response vehicle and

helicopter to the scene.

The spokesman added: “A horse and carriage veered off the road near the Sealife Cen-tre and hit a baby in a pram. Nobody was trapped.

“Two patients – a baby and a six-year-old – were both tak-en to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for checks.

“Everybody in the carriage was checked over but they were not taken to hospital.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We got call at 4pm to say a horse and carriage had come on to the pavement and knocked a few people over on the Prom.”

“The rider was spoken to by officers and it has been referred to Blackpool Council.”

Collin Nicholls, whose landau was involved in the incident, declined to comment.