Sunday 17 December 2017

'Words cannot describe the pain and loss we feel': Family's tribute to girl (11) who tragically died at theme park

Evha Jannath (11) who fell out of a boat on the Splash Canyon ride during a school trip to the Tamworth-based theme park on Tuesday
Evha Jannath (11) who fell out of a boat on the Splash Canyon ride during a school trip to the Tamworth-based theme park on Tuesday

Samuel Osborne

The 11-year-old girl who died at the Drayton Manor Theme Park has been named by police as Evha Jannath from Leicester.

Evha died hours after she fell out of a boat on the Splash Canyon water ride on Tuesday afternoon.

Her family have said they are "devastated that we will not see our beautiful little girl again".

Staffordshire Police said Evha was recovered from the water and received advanced life support from ambulance crews before she was flown to Birmingham Children's Hospital where she later died.

She was on a school trip to the Tamworth-based theme park with the Jameah Girls Academy.

In a statement issued through police, the family said: "Yesterday our world was torn apart by the news that our daughter and sister Evha, had lost her life in tragic circumstances, following a school trip to Drayton Manor Park.

"Evha was a beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling.

"Words cannot describe the pain and loss we feel, we are devastated that we will not see our beautiful little girl again.

Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of David Charles @davecharlesF1 of a police vehicle at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Drayton Manor, Tamworth (PA)
Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of David Charles @davecharlesF1 of a police vehicle at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Drayton Manor, Tamworth (PA)

"We ask that you allow us to grieve in private and deal with our loss as a family."

Drayton Manor Theme Park will remain shut on Wednesday as a mark of respect, and while investigators from the Health and Safety Executive continue their work.

The school, an integrated Islamic day school for girls, will also remain closed for the day.

According to one parent at the Jameah Academy, the girl fell from one of the boats when it hit a rock.

She told the Mail Online: "When the girl got up to change seats just then it hit a rock and she got knocked out of the boat and fell in the water and the water currents dragged her in."

The parent, who asked not to be named, said the girl disappeared from view after falling from the ride.

Erfana Bora, headteacher at Jameah Girls Academy, reads a statement about pupil Evha Jannath
Erfana Bora, headteacher at Jameah Girls Academy, reads a statement about pupil Evha Jannath

In a statement her school said it was providing "support to pupils and staff" and asked that the girl's family and the school community were given "time to grieve".

Drayton Manor's company director George Bryan, whose grandfather opened the park in the 1950s, said they were "truly shocked and devastated" by the death.

He appeared shaken as he read a statement at the park on Tuesday afternoon in which he said specially-trained staff were on the scene "immediately" after the alarm was raised.

The ride, which opened in 1993, and features up to 21 boats each with a capacity of six people, was closed following the incident.

Offering a "a wild ride" with "fast-flowing rapids", riders must be at least 0.9m (3ft) tall, although those under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult.

Jameah Academy said in a statement of "deepest sadness" on its website: "As a school community we are deeply shocked and our thoughts are with our pupil's family and friends.

"The school will ensure specially trained staff are in school to provide our pupils and staff support at this difficult time. We would request that the family and the school community are given time to grieve.

"Please be assured that the safety and wellbeing of our pupils is our foremost priority. We are liaising with the relevant authorities and therefore we are unable to provide any further information at this time."

Additional reporting by Press Association

Independent News Service

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