Woman violently thrown from ride leaving her unable to smile as operator ‘admits fault’
A young woman claims she has been left unable to smile after a devastating fall from a ride called Airmaxx 360 at a fair – and now the operator has reportedly admitted fault.
Jade Harrison, now 22, was flung through the air “like a ragdoll” in front of horrified crowds at Hull Fair in East Yorkshire.
She said she was left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being flung suddenly from her seat, leaving her with terrible injuries.
The ride’s operator admitted fault in the incident that put her in hospital for four days, reports Hull Live.
A year on from her ordeal, Jade says she is suffering mentally from the incident which left her with severe facial injuries requiring a three-hour operation on her broken jaw to have metal plates inserted into her mouth.
She also lost three teeth and has since undergone £4,000 of dental work to restore her face.
The ride operator, Taylor’s Fun Fairs, did not dispute claims from Jade’s legal team – Hudgell Solicitors – that they had “failed to adequately inspect the ride”, and that “a failure to enforce an adequate system of inspection had left riders at risk” when admitting liability.
Speaking a year on, Jade says the accident has had a huge impact on her life, but is relieved liability has been accepted.
“I’m up and down emotionally”, she said, agreeing to share an injury picture which makes her self-conscious due to her swollen face.
“On the whole I’ve worked hard to not let the accident get me down.
“I’m having counselling to help me move on from the accident and learn coping strategies as they established that I had moderate PTSD.
“I wasn’t really accepting what had happened, I was just trying to ignore it and push it to the back of my mind which I now know is no way of coping with something.
“I do think about the accident some times, when I meet new people it’s usually something that ends up coming up in conversation.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year, it only feels like last week. I’m glad that liability has been accepted now as now I’m not worrying waiting, it’s a weight lifted.”
As part of her personal injury legal claim, Jade was placed on a 14 session Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) course, aimed at helping her recovery from the psychological impact of what happened to her.
She added: “A lot of the therapy I have had has been to help me try and put what happened in the past, which has been tough.
“I struggled to accept what had happened to me and for a long time I was always thinking ‘why me?’
“My treatment has been helping me accept that it happened and to try and develop coping strategies for when things affect me.
“I’ve certainly become more anxious, and I was quite an anxious person already.
“When situations arise I’ll find myself imagining the worst case scenario and fretting. I’m also anxious in cars and quite jumpy if there are any loud noises at all.”
Jade said she is only one year in to a two year recovery for her jaw, and still can’t fully eat properly. She is also still having problems with her leg and still can’t feel a part of it.
She added: “There’s some things I can’t eat yet, like chewing gum, apples, steak, really hard foods, I get worried when I eat a Haribo still.
“I’ve had scans and lots of appointments for my leg, but so far they’ve said it’s a haematoma and extreme nerve damage as I still can’t feel that part of my leg when I touch it and it’s still swollen.
“My face is looking normal now, I’ve got the scar under my chin which you can only see if I lift my head up. My smile luckily went back to normal after a few months.
“My dentist said that it’s very common for your face to drop at one side slightly after a operation that big because of all the nerves in your face.”
Jade now studies Childhood Studies at Hull University and works part time at a fish and chip shop.
Becci Ashfield, a specialist in personal injury claims at Hudgell Solicitors, said Jade still requires substantial further dental treatment, as well as expert medical assessments to consider any possible longer term impact of her injuries, which have included significant swelling to her thigh.
She said: “This was a truly horrific accident which cast a shadow over Hull Fair last year and has had a significant impact on Jade physically and psychologically.
“It was a very traumatic experience for her and it was quickly established that she was in need of specialist psychological support, of which she is presently half way through an initial programme.
“Thankfully, the defendants were quick to admit liability and that has paved the way for Jade to also benefit from costly, specialist dental treatment.
“Even now Jade still has some extensive dental work ahead of her, and once this is completed we will be seeking expert medical opinion on any longer term impact of her injuries.”
Witnesses on the night told how Jade was thrown around 10 to 15 feet from the ride.
She also hit a teenage boy who was on the neighbouring Sizzler attraction as she fell.
Speaking to Hull Live last year, Jade said she just remembers waking up, lying on her back, with a mouth full of blood.
She said: “I remember the sensation of falling out, but i don’t remember what I was thinking. There wasn’t a period where I thought the barrier was coming loose, it just happened all at once.
“I just remember seeing silver, as if it was the floor, I would have said I fell out and dropped straight to the ground below. I didn’t know I had been flown through the air like a ragdoll until my mum told me in hospital.”
Jade says she woke up surrounded by strangers and at first she thought she was in a dream.
“I just remember being laid there and looking in the sky, and I could see the Star Flyer ride,” she said.
“People have said I looked like I was dead, with my eyes open. I thought it was a dream, I gave it a minute and then realised it wasn’t a dream and that’s when I started to panic and people were telling me not to move.
“I thought I’d lost all of my teeth, my mouth felt like it had been scrambled.”
Jade says she has tried not to think too much about what could have happened, but adds she will never be the same person again.
Hull Fair bosses said last year thrill seekers have more chance of being “struck by lightning in Sainsbury’s” than being thrown off a ride.
Garry Leach, who is chairman of the Showmen’s Guild, also said last year ride operators were “devastated” by what happened on the Airmaxx 360 and they were doing all they could to assist the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is leading the investigation.
A HSE spokesperson said on Thursday: “Our investigation into this incident is ongoing. We are unable to comment further at this time.”
Mirror Online has contacted Taylor’s Fun Fairs for comment.
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