Sunday 8 December 2019

Mother 'broke down in tears' after being trapped 80 foot above ground on amusement ride with her children

Anita McSorley

A woman who was trapped on a ride for an estimated 80 minutes yesterday has said herself and her two children were traumatised by the incident.

Describing what happened on RTE's Liveline today, Ann Hoctor said she broke down in tears when her family was eventually rescued from the ‘chair-o-plane’ ride.

The family were stuck at more than 50 metres above ground.

"We didn’t know what was going to happen to us. The kids panicked even more when they (emergency services) were coming saying what’s happening and 'are we going to fall?'"

"It was frightening. Very frightening."

The worried mother said her daughter Shannon "was having a right panic attack".

"I broke down... I had a half an hour on my own just crying, crying, crying," she told Joe Duffy today.

"We thought we were going to be five minutes on it and it ended up two hours."

She recalled: "We were spinning around and we got a little jerk and I thought we were going down but it stopped. I thought it was part of the ride."

"When  we got down [my daughter] Amanda started roaring and crying straight away and I had to wait until I got to the ambulance. You don’t do that in front of kids. You don’t want them seeing you panic."

Earlier today an eye-witness at Tramore amusement park said: “It’s a chair-o-plane that’s similar to a swing and it’s up to 80 foot off the ground. It had stopped and they couldn’t get down. Again it went around and they tried to get it down and they couldn’t.

“After ten minutes, the father of one of the children asked the operator of the machine what was going on. The operator wasn’t very helpful to him and just said he’d have them down after five minutes,” they said.

Gardai then called fire and ambulance services who rescued the six people – believed to be from Co Tyrone - after an hour and a half.

“They were on the ride for an hour and a half and the children were traumatised. One of them suffered from asthma and was in the ambulance for an hour and a half after,” they said.

The eye-witness then called for an inquiry into what happened.

“The father could understand that machines can break down, but operators should have an emergency plan in place. They need to find out why the ride failed last night,” they said.

The two mothers and four children were applauded as they were brought down from the ride.

“The Gardai didn’t close the park and you could still hear the screams and laughter  from the other rides – it was surreal in that way.

“They brought them down two by two and they were applauded as they came down. There was a good atmosphere despite the circumstances,” they said.

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