Jury decides zipwire death was accident

The grandfather of Bailey Lonsdale-Sumner (above) does not blame the owners of Greenwood Forest Park for the accident that claimed the 11-year-old's life.
The grandfather of Bailey Lonsdale-Sumner (above) does not blame the owners of Greenwood Forest Park for the accident that claimed the 11-year-old's life.
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The zipwire from which a schoolboy fell to his death was “an accident waiting to happen”, his grandfather said today.

As a jury ruled Bailey Lonsdale-Sumner’s death was an accident, Phil Lonsdale said there was a complete lack of guidance and guidelines in place for fixed zip lines in the country.

Bailey, 11, from Grange Park, fell from the newly-installed Swampflyer at Greenwood Forest Park in North Wales in April 2011.

Mr Lonsdale said: “The park did its level best to get proper guidance and qualified people in to get it up and running.

“It was an accident waiting to happen.”

As zip lines continue to be installed all over the country, Mr Lonsdale said it was “vastly important” lessons were learned.

He added: “We need to make sure other parents and grandparents do not end up in court due to the death of a child.”

North Wales coroner Nicola Jones, sitting at Dolgellau Magistrates Court, said she would be writing to the Health and Safety Executive and other agencies demanding action be taken to prevent further tragedies.

She said: “Stephen Bristow (owner of Greenwood Forest Park) continually sought guidance but none was available. Lack of guidance played a significant part in how Bailey came to die.”

The coroner told the jury to disregard earlier evidence suggesting Bailey, of Wensleydale Avenue, had tampered with a carabiner, as Mr Bristow later said the clips were “very difficult to open.”

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Investigation continues into park ride practices

An investigation into the tragic accident at Greenwood Forest Park is being carried out by Gwynedd Council.

A spokesman said: “We are continuing to carry out investigations into possible regulatory breaches concerning the tragic incident at Greenwood Forest Park. Our officers have been carefully considering all the possible options before deciding what action is necessary.

“Now that the inquest has come to an end, we will be moving forward to pursue these actions.”

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