Graphic images: Boy, 12, breaks skull in freak fairground fall
A mum has today told of her horror after her 12-year-old son suffered a fractured skull in a freak fairground accident.
Baines pupil Jack Beckett was airlifted to hospital after falling on a spinning bowl-style ride when he visited Poulton Gala at the weekend with friends.
Mum Caroline described how surgeons battled to save her son’s sight.
She said: “He is so lucky. Judging by the descriptions, it does not even bear thinking about.
“His head was trapped in the entrance gate to the ride.”
He was airlifted from Fosters Funfair, visiting Cottam Hall playing fields in Poulton as part of the town’s gala celebrations, to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. After undergoing tests, he underwent surgery in a bid to prevent him going blind.
Jack, a Year Seven pupil at Baines in Highcross Road, Poulton, was visiting the funfair with his brother Charlie, 13, and some friends when he chose to go on the tagada-style attraction, which sees riders sit in a spinning bowl and features hydraulic bouncing.
Police and investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are now looking into the exact cause of the accident amid conflicting reports.
Caroline, a child protection officer at the county council, said: “He was thrown out his seat and his head was trapped in the entrance gate to the ride.
“Jack was injured and his friends were screaming for the ride to stop.”
Charlie called home to tell Caroline there had been an accident, with the 41-year-old driving to Cottam Hall, off Blackpool Old Road, from the family home in Heron’s Reach.
She arrived to see her son – who has a platelet defect which leads to prolonged bleeding – being tended to by an off-duty medic.
She said: “He was sat by the ride, slumped over with his head bandaged.
“He was not coherent and he was in a lot of pain. On a scale of one to 10 he was on 10 and he was begging them to let him sleep.”
Paramedics arrived before scrambling a helicopter minutes later. Jack was flown to the specialist Merseyside hospital where he went for an operation, which lasted almost four hours, at around 9.30pm.
Doctors are now monitoring his vision after surgeons battled to restore blood supply to his right eye, which was cut off when his socket became displaced.
“He was able to move it left, right, and down, but could not move it up and was seeing double,” Caroline added.
She said one of the cuts to his temple was so deep his skull was visible.
Roger Critchley, treasurer of Poulton Gala’s committee, said a fairground operator was brought in to run the annual fair. He said the operator, which is responsible for bringing in rides and ride operators, had public liability insurance.
He said: “There was a first aider on site but she did not know there was an incident until the off-duty medic got there first.”
At future events, all fairground staff will be briefed on who the first aider is, he added, and said: “There was an issue where people did not know who it was, so she could not get there fast enough.”
A spokeswoman for the HSE said officials were ‘aware of the accident and making initial enquiries’.
Two inspectors are understood to have visited the site yesterday afternoon.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said officers were called to the fair shortly after 5pm. The ride was stopped ‘immediately’, he added.