Mum fuming as theme park ride breaks leaving ‘terrified’ son hanging in mid air

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A mum was left fuming after she and her "terrified" son were left hanging on a broken theme park ride for 10 minutes after it broke down.

Joanne Whorwood, from South Derbyshire, has vowed never to return to Drayton Manor following a recent day out, during which she says a total of three different rides broke down while they were on them.

Ms Whorwood said she and her son, Lachlan, decided to go on the Harold ride in Thomasland at the theme park, when it stopped in mid-air, leaving them stranded for 10 minutes.

It marked the first time they had been out since March, having shielded due to her son's allergies.

In a complaint to the Staffordshire park, Joanne said: "We totally understand that ride breakdowns can happen from time to time and these issues can not be prevented in some circumstances.

"However, during our visit, there were three rides we went on, all of which broke down while we were on the rides themselves.

"Can you imagine being suspended at the highest setting in the air on Harold for 10 minutes with a four-year-old who is completely terrified?

"Furthermore, the Troublesome Trucks broke down, and the Sodor cars twice."

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Mrs Whorwood told Burton Live a manager apologised to everyone, but there were some screaming children when the ride finally restarted.

The park's "virtual queuing" system sees guests use its day planner app on their phones to enable social distancing.

But Mrs Whorwood said: "By the time we got to the front of the queue (for another ride), our allotted time had run out and staff told me to rejoin the queue at the back and I told them there was absolutely no way I was doing that.

"A family who were already on the ride said we could sit near them so I just got on.

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"If my son hadn't been able to get on I don't think he would have been happy."

Mrs Whorwood said she paid almost £60 for two tickets and would not be returning to the park.

William Bryan, managing director at Drayton Manor Park, said: "Our number one priority is the safety of our guests and all of our rides operate under the strictest health and safety guidelines.

"There are occasions where rides will be temporarily paused to enable full safety checks to be carried out, and our on-site maintenance teams work tirelessly to ensure these attractions are operational as soon as possible.

"In addition, we have introduced many new Covid-19 measures, which help to ensure safe social distancing guidelines can be followed.

"We continually review and monitor these measures, to ensure our guests and staff are kept safe at all times."

The tourist attraction, near Tamworth, recently announced it has been sold to the Looping Group – a European company operating 15 leisure parks across the UK, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal, to save it going into administration.

  • Theme Parks

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