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M&D's theme park fined £65,000 over rollercoaster crash

Nine people were injured when the Tsunami ride derailed and plunged to the ground in 2016.

Theme park M&D's has been fined £65,000 over a rollercoaster crash which left nine people injured.

Five gondolas from the Tsunami attraction derailed and fell to the ground in June 2016.

M&D's pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach regarding failures of their maintenance system at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday.

The crash was caused by inappropriate welding on the axles of the rollercoaster, the court heard. This had caused fractures which meant the wheels came off the track.

Outside court, the dad of one crash victim criticised the scale of the fine, describing it as a "kick in the teeth".

The theme park, near Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, was closed for four days following the crash while investigations were carried out.

It reopened three weeks later, however the Tsunami never operated again and was dismantled in February 2017.

Last year, it emerged M&D's received a £1.4m insurance payout for the closure of the Strathclyde Park site.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1358693-people-feared-trapped-after-roller-coaster-derails-at-theme-park/?fbclid=IwAR3AMfxW0a5xIpgJ17uw1bpvPanhIGNXG2fSilICGkVggtuyNIt8G7Dvf7g | default

Some of those injured in the incident have received compensation while others are still pursuing claims.

David Nellaney, from Digby Brown Solicitors, said: "The prosecution of M&Ds Leisure Ltd will be welcomed by the victims and their families following the devastating and life-long impacts it has had on them.

"Additionally, I would hope this sparks an improvement process across the sector that ensures an incident like this does not happen again."

M&D's: 'Devastated as a family and business'

Matthew Taylor, director of M&D's, said: "My brother Douglas and I have been in business together for more than 50 years and this is the first incident of this type that we've ever been involved in.

"We are devastated as both a family and a business, and our heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the accident.

"Our customers shape every part of our business and our thoughts have always been with those who were injured and their families.

"We've cooperated fully with the enquiries at every stage to ascertain what caused this accident and how to prevent it happening again in the future.

"Each and every ride within the theme park has always been subject to a daily safety check and annual independent inspection.

"We have now introduced a new, more detailed, maintenance recording system which records any work carried out to ensure that repairs can be traced accurately."

'Lucky to be alive'

The dad of one teenager hurt in the rollercoaster crash told STV News of his family's ordeal.

He said his 15-year-old son, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was lucky to be alive and still fighting to regain full fitness almost three years later.

The dad said: "It was a horrific incident but what I think has been forgotten is that ride could have derailed at any point.

"There was heavy G-force at various points on that ride. If it had derailed at that loop, it would have been fatalities without a doubt.

"That has been in the back of my head since day one."

Five gondolas derailed in the incident.
Five gondolas derailed in the incident. STV

While his own memories remain vivid three years on, his son can remember nothing of the crash.

The dad first learned of the incident when he called his son to arrange picking him up from the theme park.

But the mobile was answered by an off-duty nurse who told him the boy had been involved in an accident.

Arriving at the site, the man found his son being treated by medics and was shocked to find the park still open to the public.

The dad said: "He had a huge gash on top of his head - it was wide open - but that wasn't what was concerning the trauma doctor because, right away, he took me to the side and told that he was really worried.

"To my frustration I felt the full park should have been closed. It was a major incident unfolding and there were still people coming in.

"He had to have a chest drain put in as he was bleeding into his chest cavity.

The theme park closed for four days.
The theme park closed for four days. STV

"I held a unit of blood while they were getting ready to do the procedure in the park. I can remember seeing four elderly men playing crazy golf and thinking 'why is this place not closed?'."

After three weeks in hospital, he spent months recovering at home from injuries likened to those suffered in a head-on car crash.

The dad, who said the family would never visit M&D's again, said: "Mentally he is now in a great place. His drive and determination is fantastic but he has hit many hurdles along the way.

"Even to this day it is still a fight for him."

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