Fairground horror: I thought I was going to lose leg, says South Yorkshire mum

Back home: Ann Smallwood surrounded by get well cards and flowers after her accident on a fairground ride in Bridlington.  Picture: Steve Ellis.
Back home: Ann Smallwood surrounded by get well cards and flowers after her accident on a fairground ride in Bridlington. Picture: Steve Ellis.

A TRAUMATISED South Yorkshire woman today relived the horrific moment she was hurled from a seaside funfair and suffered terrible injuries.

Ann Smallwood, aged 58, said she had suffered sleepless nights and nightmares since she and four-year-old great-niece Isabella were flipped out of the Jungle River log flume ride in Bridlington.

Ann was airlifted to hospital with horrendous leg injuries received on the August bank holiday weekend, 10 days ago.

After undergoing emergency surgery to save her leg, the married mum-of-two is now recovering at home in Flanderwell, Rotherham.

She told The Star: “I thought I was going to lose my leg. It was in a bad way.

“I do feel traumatised and I do have problems sleeping. I have nightmares about the two of us being thrown from the ride.

“But I’m a strong person and I have really strong family and friends - I will get through it.”

Ann was on holiday with husband David at their caravan at Flamborough when her brother John and sister-in-law Jayne visited with their grandchildren Isabella and Harrison, three.

“We decided to take them down to Bridlington and take them on the rides,” Ann said.

“I hadn’t been on a ride for 20 years, since going to Disneyland.

“I said I would go on the log flumes with Isabella - and Jayne and little Harrison went in the carriage behind.

“They wanted to put us all in the same carriage, but I didn’t think there was enough room. Thank goodness they didn’t come in with us.”

Ann and Isabella’s carriage had done one lap of the ride when it suddenly ground to a halt.

“A man climbed up to us and said some water had got on a sensor,” Ann said.

“They started it again and we went up to the highest part of the ride. But when we went down the steep part it quickly gathered speed.

“I knew it was going too fast, and it went to the bottom and crashed.”

Ann and Isabella were hurled from the carriage, both receiving bad leg injuries.

She said: “I can remember standing up. My main thought was that I couldn’t see Isabella and I panicked.

“I was screaming for her. Then I heard her crying - she was in the water below the carriage.”

Isabella was taken by ambulance to Scarborough Hospital, but Ann’s injuries were more serious and she needed to be flown to Hull Royal Infirmary. “I can remember every minute,” she said. “I told the men from the helicopter, ‘I don’t like flying, I will walk there!’.

“But they were fantastic, absolutely fantastic.”

Ann, who runs a catering business in Sheffield and Rotherham magistrates’ courts, is facing further operations to repair her leg.

Isabella is also out of hospital and recovering at home in Durham with her parents.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation is under way.