Family ‘devastated’ by death of girl who fell on Drayton Manor ride

Family ‘devastated’ by death of girl who fell on Drayton Manor ride

Relatives of Evha Jannath, 11, from Leicester, say their ‘world was torn apart’ when she died after trip to theme park

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This article titled “Family ‘devastated’ by death of girl who fell on Drayton Manor ride” was written by Jamie Grierson, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 10th May 2017 11.14 UTC

The family of an 11-year-old girl who died after falling into water on a ride at a theme park have said their “world was torn apart” by her death.

Evha Jannath, from Leicester, was at Drayton Manor theme park as part of a school trip with the Jameah girls academy, an Islamic day school for girls, Staffordshire police said.

One report suggested the girl had stood up during the ride, in which up to six people sit on a large round inflatable raft, and hit her head as she fell into the choppy water.

In a statement issued through police, her family said: “Yesterday our world was torn apart by the news that our daughter and sister Evha, had lost her life in tragic circumstances, following a school trip to Drayton Manor park.

“Evha was a beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling.

“Words cannot describe the pain and loss we feel. We are devastated that we will not see our beautiful little girl again.

“We ask that you allow us to grieve in private and deal with our loss as a family.”

A Health and Safety Executive investigation had started, the police force added, and Evha’s family were being supported by specially trained officers.

A police statement said: “Evha sadly died after falling from a water ride at the theme park. She was recovered from the water and received advanced life support from ambulance crews before she was flown to Birmingham children’s hospital where she later passed away.”

George Bryan, a director of Drayton Manor, was visibly shaken as he read a statement on Tuesday. “It is with great sadness we have to report a young girl has passed away at Birmingham children’s hospital following an incident on one of our rides this afternoon,” he said.

“Our staff were alerted that an 11-year-old girl had entered the water. Trained park staff were immediately on scene tending the patient and West Midlands ambulance arrived and airlifted her to hospital.

“We are all truly shocked and devastated, and our thoughts are with the family and friends at this horrendously difficult time.”

The park will remain closed on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the family.

Drayton Manor, which opened in 1949, is operated and owned by the Bryan family and has had an exemplary ride safety record. The theme park’s website says the Splash Canyon ride, which opened in 1993, has up to 21 boats that travel along “fast-flowing rapids”. It is open to anyone at least 90cm (3ft) tall, although those under 110cm must be accompanied by an adult.

The rafts on the ride are similar to those used at the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, where four people died in October last year. They were on the Thunder River Rapids ride when their raft flipped over. The ride has since been demolished.

Attractions at Drayton Manor include 10 “thrill rides” such as Maelstrom and Apocalypse as well as Splash Canyon.

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