I was left with a broken back after going on ride at UK theme park – it ‘derailed’ from the track then I heard a crunch | The Sun
A DAD has been left with a broken back after claiming that he suffered a "terrifying crunch" on a ride at a popular UK theme park.
Craig Knight says he is now in agony in hospital after a Waltzer ride came to a sudden stop and derailed at a fairground in Porthcawl, south Wales.
The dad-of-two is now calling for the beachfront amusement park owners to close the ride down for safety checks.
Mr Knight, from Newport, had taken his children Logan and Cassie and a friend of theirs to Coney Beach Pleasure Park on Wednesday.
He has claimed that the Waltzer cart they were sitting in abruptly "derailed and lifted from the track" – causing him to feel a "crunch" in his back.
And he says that after being removed from the ride he was left lying on the ground in the pouring rain for about an hour and a half, before being driven to hospital by his brother.
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Mr Knight, a contracts manager, is now being treated for a fracture in his spine at the University Hospital of Wales in the capital Cardiff.
Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "I was at the fairground with my family.
"The cart derailed and lifted from the track causing me to feel a crunch in my back.
"I am currently laying in A&E with a broken back.
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"I just hope to God they have shut the ride down pending investigations and safety checks."
His partner Katie Cusack told how her daughter phoned in tears, telling her: "Dad's on the floor and he can't move."
Katie said: "As they were spinning around, the whole seating area just jolted in the air and lifted off the racks.
"When it landed he said he heard a crunch in his back, his face went white and my son started screaming for them to stop the ride. "
Craig's brother decided to drive him to hospital after they were told paramedics might take another two or three hours to get there, she said.
X-ray tests showed a fracture to his spine and doctors put him in a brace, with further assessments now planned.
Katie added: "It was absolutely terrifying for him – he knew it was quite serious because of the pain.
"He was lying there for about an hour and a half – there was no shelter, he was soaking wet."
Craig had originally planned to take the children on Tuesday but waited a day after his car wouldn't start.
Katie went on: "And this happened.
"Craig is a lot of pain and is on a lot of pain relief, morphine.
"He didn't get a bed until 2.30am and was stuck in A&E assessment, which was carnage."
In a statement, Coney Beach Pleasure Park said first aid helpers were "called immediately and responded", covering Mr Knight with a blanket to make him "comfortable while an ambulance was called".
They added: "Senior staff stayed with him throughout the situation.
"Due to the delay in the ambulance arriving, Mr Knight decided he wanted to go home. He insisted on leaving despite advice to the contrary from the ambulance service.
"Coney Beach regards the health and safety of all its patrons as of paramount importance.
"Along with all other rides at the park, the Waltzer undergoes a thorough daily check prior to it being open to the public and again following this incident.
"Nothing was shown to be wrong with the ride. Pending ongoing investigations, Coney Beach has nothing further to add."
The pleasure park has been running for more than a century, opening in 1920 before becoming a favourite with tourists in the 1940s following World War II.
It was named after New York's Coney Island amusement park.
The free-to-enter attraction has more than 20 rides – accessed with paid-for tokens – ranging from dodgems and teacups to rollercoasters including Nessi and Go-Gator.
Yet it emerged last month the theme park could soon be closed, as part of new beachfront redevelopment plans.
A nine-year-old boy, Timothy Morgan, died at the park in April 1994 when a loose gantry toppled on to a water chute ride.
Owners were fined £7,500 two years later under health and safety laws and the water chute ride was not used again since the tragedy.
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Porthcawl is also home to a huge Parkdean holiday park, which last year had a £3.5million makeover.
An even older UK theme park, Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, marked its 180th anniversary this year by launching a new ride.
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