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Woman breaks back in fairground fall

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:54 06 July 2010

A woman was recovering in hospital last night after breaking her back in a fall from a fairground ride.

An investigation was under way involving police and the health and safety executive into the accident at the Chapelfield Gardens Easter fair in Norwich when a family fun day out went wrong.

A woman was recovering in hospital last night after breaking her back in a fall from a fairground ride.

An investigation was under way involving police and the health and safety executive into the accident at the Chapelfield Gardens Easter fair in Norwich when a family fun day out went wrong.

Charlotte Cox, 27, who was being treated at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for a fractured lumbar vertebrae, said she would be seeking legal advice.

She was on the Jumpin' Frog - a series of cars attached to hydraulic arms which rise and fall - when the car she was seated in slammed down rather than being gradually lowered at the end of the ride.

In extreme pain, she managed to get out of the car but collapsed on the grass and her concerned mother, Janet, called an ambulance and the police.

Speaking to the EDP from her bed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, she said: “The ride was just coming to the end and other cars started to slowly lower, but mine just fell.

“It was really, really painful. A woman on the ride came over and asked if I was all right and I said 'I think it's broken'. I managed to get out and on to the grass next to the ride.”

“I was pretty disgusted by it.”

Miss Cox, who lives in Norwich, said she was angered that the ride was still in use several hours after the accident - though police claim the ride was shut down as soon as possible.

She is due to be fitted with a brace and is expected to be off work from her role in the hospital's post room for several weeks.

As a member of the Norwich Samba Band, which plays at parades and outdoor events around the region, she is bitterly disappointed she will not be part of their performance at Luton Carnival on May 25.

“I can't sit up, I have to lie down at a 45-degree angle so I am going to be off work for weeks,” she added.

Mrs Cox was enjoying a day out in the city with her daughter on Good Friday when Charlotte was injured on the only ride she had gone on.

“It has been very upsetting,” she said. “It could have damaged her spinal cord and paralysed her, but as it is it has still had a devastating effect and it will take a very long while to get back to normal.

“We were just having a lovely day in the city, we had been out to lunch and decided to end up there at the fair in the afternoon and hit the rides, but of course the rides hit her.”

A spokesman for the police said officers attended the scene at the time of the incident and arranged, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), for the ride to be shut down immediately.

A spokesman for HSE said: “The HSE has worked closely with the police and the ride remains closed until a thorough investigation has been carried out.”

It is understood the ride has now re-opened following safety checks.

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