Woman, 21, Flung From UK Fairground Ride 'Like A Ragdoll' Speaks Out
A young woman who was flung from a fairground ride has spoken of her traumatic experience for the first time and says she is 'lucky to be alive' after being flung through the air 'like a ragdoll'.
Jade Harrison, from north Hull, faces several weeks in recovery after undergoing a two-hour operation on her broken jaw where metal plates have been fitted to hold her face together.
The former waitress - who is too upset and embarrassed to show her face in new photographs - today said she wants to see the Airmaxx 360 ride she was on scrapped for good.
Jade is still unable to smile - nine days after the accident - due to her facial injuries. She also lost a tooth, with the likelihood being that she will lose two more, and she faces weeks on liquid food.
The 21-year-old is now represented by personal injury expert Hudgell Solicitors - which is calling for a 'full and transparent' investigation to provide Jade with answers.
Re-living the ordeal, which has had a severe traumatic effect on her, Jade said she just remembers waking up laid on her back with a mouth full of blood.
She said: "I remember the process of getting on the ride, the ride started, and as it started, the barrier clicked a bit, I said to my friend 'Did yours just click?' and he said 'yes', so I thought that was fine.
"We must have been halfway through the ride, it was bouncing a lot, spinning us around, it was OK, but then the actual carriage position of it changed, so all our weight was facing forwards onto the bar. My body was being pushed forwards and into the barrier.
"It started to bounce and that's when remember it tilting - I was worried about coming out but that's the last thing I remember thinking.
"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."
She went on: "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.
"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. I could see my friend, I could hear people saying 'how old is she?' And asking him questions about me - I was trying to speak but because of what had happened, my mouth was full of blood."
Jade said she doesn't normally go on bigger rides, but her friend had persuaded her when they arrived on 7 October.
Due to her nervousness of rides, she immediately pulled down her own safety barrier. She said the attendant then came and took her £3 ($3.80) ride fare and fastened the seat belt.
She said: "The barrier must have come free, and when that happened my life was left relying on the clasp and buckle of an old seat belt. How can that be right?
"I feel angry as nobody should go to a fair and be thrown from a ride. It is disgusting really and when I think about how it happened it makes me angry that the that the safety systems simply didn't do their job."
Jade continued: "I feel lucky to be alive, or to have come away from this without a brain or spinal injury which would have left me paralysed for life, so I do feel lucky in a way.
"I've tried not to think too much about what could have happened to me. What I have thought about a lot is how really small children are allowed to go on these fast rides at the fair, and how dangerous they are.
"My little sister is nine years old and I'd hate to think of this happening to her. I'm angry this could have happened to my little sister, it could have happened to a child, and they might not have been as fortunate as me."
Jade, who fears she might lose her new job in a call centre, is worried that her mouth might never feel the same again. She explained: "I also have a big gash on my chin which was sewn up in surgery.
"I've gone through a mixture of emotions, sometimes I'm really low and upset, if I have a bad day, I don't want to talk to anyone, I feel like I wont ever be the same person again, I'll be anxious to do everything."
Jade says she has grown up going to Hull Fair and does not want her accident to tarnish childhood memories. Her main aim is to find out exactly what happened and for any safety improvements that need to be made, to be made - not just compensation.
She said: "If I could have that ride scrapped and put out of business, never to be used again, but I didn't get any compensation then at least I've achieved something and saved someone from losing a life or losing their child or going though what I've gone through. If the ride came back next year I would be very, very angry."
Hull Fair bosses say 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, says ride operators are 'devastated' by what happened on the Airmaxx 360 and that they were doing all they could to assist the Health and Safety Executive, which is leading the investigation.
Jade has instructed a personal injury team from Hudgell Solicitors to represent her throughout the investigation.
Featured Image Credit: MEN Media