Bathurst girl falls off Wet ‘n’ Wild ride

A BATHURST family’s fun day out to the Wet ‘n’ Wild Sydney theme park ended at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead on Sunday.

Eight-year-old Alisha Merchant spent much of the day in hospital after she injured herself as she was coming down one of the theme park’s water attractions.

Her father Sherry Merchant said she was on the Bombora Wall ride with her three sisters when she fell out of the rubber raft.

“Four people sit on a rubber ring, with a handle on each side, but they have to put their feet straight in the middle,” he said. “You go around a tube and then near the end of the ride there was a hump. The force of it made her let go and she flew off the ring.”

Luckily for Alisha, she landed back down on her bottom and did not receive any serious injuries.

“When she got down, she complained about back pains, so we took her to Westmead,” he said. “They did x-rays and luckily there were no spinal injuries.

“Then a couple of hours later, another couple brought their daughter into the hospital who hurt herself on the same ride.”

Bidwell resident Dianne Leggett brought her eight-year-old daughter Mia Gore into the hospital after she also fell off the rubber raft. 

Ms Leggett said the ride was shut down after the incident as her daughter had to be carried off on a back board because she couldn’t walk at the time.

“She has ligament damage to the back of her neck. She has to go back to Westmead in a few weeks,” she said.

“From the stories I’ve heard, my daughter is lucky she is still walking.” 

She added that while Wet ‘n’ Wild was a good place for kids, she had a lot of safety concerns. Mr Merchant agreed and said it was worrying that such an accident had happened twice in the one day on the same ride. He noted that he would like to see a harness or belt put on the raft to improve safety and ensure that young ride goers did not fall off.

“My girls didn’t mess up, they weren’t jumping up and down on the thing,” he said. “I’m worried about what could happen if people land on their neck or head. They could be seriously injured, end up a quadriplegic.”

Since the Village Roadshow Theme Parks’ venue opened in December last year, more than two million rides have been taken at Wet ‘n’ Wild, and corporate communication manager Darrin Davies says the safety and comfort of guests is the park’s number one priority.

“This incident is under review and all aspects of the ride will be looked at. Furthermore, the ride won’t re-open until that review is complete,” he said.

“We have at least two medical staff on site each day, including a registered nurse and a paramedic. 

“If there is any doubt whatsoever, we call an ambulance,” Mr Davies said.

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