Tayto Park 'totally staffed' during 'scary' staircase collapse
Published 24/10/2016 | 02:30
Tayto Park has insisted there was appropriate supervision at the House of Horrors Halloween attraction in which nine people were injured following a stair collapse.
Ambulances brought the injured to hospital after the wooden stairs gave way at the popular adventure centre in Ashbourne, Co Meath.
The incident happened at around 8pm on Saturday during a Halloween-themed after-dark event.
Rian O'Ceallaigh (25) from Whitehall, Dublin - at the park with her 13-year-old sister and her two young friends - stepped off the lower staircase moments before the collapse.
"We just stepped off that bit of the staircase and we heard a creek, we thought it was part of the show, but next of all the staircase just went and everyone behind us just dropped," she told the Irish Independent.
"We were very lucky, we'd literally taken one step off that part of the stairs so it was awfully frightening and we didn't know where to go then because you could only go up with the rest of the staircase gone and then we thought that all would collapse as well. It was just very scary," she said.
The injured were taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown and St James's Hospital in Dublin. Sources said there were no serious injuries, and by yesterday afternoon, all of those who had been assessed and treated in both hospitals had been discharged.
"We saw everyone behind us just suddenly drop and they all landed on top of each other and the staircase completely gave way," Ms O'Ceallaigh added.
"All the younger children, and adults even, were screaming and crying. It really was very scary and quite ironic that we were supposed to be going into a house of horrors."
Charles Coyle, general manager of the park, said: "There were 1,300 people at the event and we had enough staff on duty to cover 5,000 guests."
It is estimated there were around 25 people on the stairs when the structure collapsed.
The Health and Safety Authority has launched an investigation.
"The aim is to have the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) out on Monday to start the investigation, and once they are satisfied with their findings we hope to open again," Mr Coyle said.
"The stairs is a wooden structure, but we can't speculate as to what happened. It had been there for a good number of months, with people using it regularly.
"Tayto Park was totally staffed for levels beyond what was here at the time."
Yesterday, the attraction remained sealed off and the windows and doors had wooden shuttering screwed on to them.