A SAFETY expert has claimed it is “terrifying” a giant inflatable slide positioned on the edge of Brighton Pier is only two metres from the sea.
His warning came after a concerned dad took pictures of the slide while visiting the seaside town with his two-year-old daughter – on the same weekend eight children were rushed to hospital when they fell from a 30ft inflatable slide at the Woking Fireworks event.
After being contacted by Sun Online, the inflatable slide was pulled down by the operators yesterday with a sign saying it had been closed “due to adverse weather conditions”.
However those responsible for the bouncy slide were adamant it didn’t pose any risk and had been carefully checked to ensure it was safe.
It came after eight kids were taken to major trauma centres when they fell from an inflatable slide shortly before the Woking fireworks display was due to begin on Saturday.
Police evacuated 12,000 people from the funfair area of Woking Park, in Surrey, to allow an air ambulance helicopter to land and treated the injured.
When asked about the inflatable slide at Brighton Pier, Allen Wilson, a health and safety expert, told the Sun Online: “I wouldn’t support it. I would be really worried about it.
“It’s terrifying that it’s only two metres from the sea…anyone could bounce that sort of distance.
“Any installation this close to water is always going to be hazardous because of the boisterous nature of the users.”
He added: “A competent, unbiased risk assessment would identify this and there should be a physical barrier to effectively separate the hazard from the facility and prevent harm to users.”
Concerns about the slide had been raised by Kris, 34, from London, during a visit to Brighton with his daughter on Sunday.
The dad-of-one told the Sun Online: “I was walking along the front of the pier yesterday and saw a giant inflatable perched perilously on the edge.
“It looked very dodgy where it was, even though it was all strapped and tied down.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to put a bouncy trampoline with kids on the edge of the pier.
“If you got a kid on top bouncing around or pushing one another they could be catapulted into the sea.
“It looked like a disaster waiting to happen.”
However Chris Walter, duty manager at Brighton Pier, insisted the slide posed no safety risks.
He told the Sun Online: “It’s just not true [to suggest it is dangerous].
“The sea is two metres from the slide, the walls are two metres high and then there’s a railing that is two metres high behind the slide and the sea so it couldn’t happen (kids falling into the sea).
“It’s a more substantial construction than what you saw at Woking.
“It’s a solid bit of kit, it’s attached to the steelwork of the pier. It’s a very solid slide.
“There’s no danger at all, we assess all scenarios like that and there is no danger.”
On Saturday evening, eight children were injured and transported to major trauma centres after falling from an inflatable slide in Woking.
Donia Echouafni whose daughter Nadine, 12, broke her pelvis, said: “I don’t want to see this to happen to anybody again, nobody wants to see their child on the floor crying, or unconscious.”
Asked if regulations around temporary fairground rides need to be tightened up, Ms Echouafni replied: “100%.”
She also called on police to do their “due diligence” and carry out a full investigation, warning that it “cannot happen again”.
The cause of the incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with the assistance of Woking Borough Council.
Woking District Rotary Club, which helped organise the event, said it was “shocked and distressed” by the collapse and would meet to “agree next steps”.
The Prime Minister has already faced demands to introduce a temporary ban on bouncy castles in public spaces after the deaths of two girls in separate incidents involving inflatables.
In July Ava-May Littleboy, aged three, died in hospital after she was thrown from an inflatable trampoline on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk.
It followed the death of seven-year-old Summer Grant, who was blown away on a bouncy castle at an Easter fair in Harlow, Essex, in March 2016.
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Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow and former Minister of State for Education, said: “I reiterate my urge to the government that they should have a temporary ban on inflatables and bouncy castles in public places until all the regulations we know have been updated.
“Twenty injuries since 2011, we’ve had two tragic deaths – the time for just looking at it is over.
“The government have got to have possibly a temporary ban on these things until we know for sure that they’re safe and no parent has to ever worry again.”
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