Woking park fireworks evacuated as seven kids are injured when inflatable slide collapses at fun fair

The inflatable slide came down in Woking Park, Surrey, at 7.30pm today.

It is understood at least seven children are in a serious condition with a mixture of spinal and neck injuries as well as broken arms and legs.

Eye witnesses said that the children were all aged between six and 10 years old, and had fallen about 20ft when the inflatable slide they were on collapsed.

Police evacuated the park to allow an air ambulance to land.

At around 9.15pm the air ambulance was said to have left the park with the last casualties.

At least 20 ambulance vehicles rushed to the scene in Woking park after the alarm was raised and extra resources were called in when it was realised the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the youngsters.

Seven children have suffered "potentially serious injuries" and were all treated at the scene.

They are now being transported to major trauma units in London.

One eye-witness said: "It is a terrible scene. many of the children have got broken arms and legs and obviously terrified.

"I have seen the air ambulance arrive at the scene and at least one of the children has been flown to St. Georges Hospital in London where doctors have been put on standby."

Ambulances from all over Surrey were scrambled to the incident and at least four of the badly hurt children were taken to St Peter's Hospital, in Chertsey, in a serious condition.

Four others were taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford with more minor injuries and it was understood that paramedics were treating some others on the scene for shock.

Authorities are calling the the event a "significant incident".

Andy Datson, 23, said he saw up to 40 children playing on the "flimsy" slide, which he estimated was about 30-foot tall at its highest.

"We had been walking past the slide earlier in the night and said it looked unsafe. It looked pretty flimsy to say the least," he said.

"There were far too many kids on it. It did not look as if there was an adult at the top of the slide and these kids were no more than 10 years old.

"It didn't look like it could hold that many people. I would say there was around 40 kids on it."

The journalist, who lives in Guildford, Surrey, said he watched the fireworks with friends before seeing "flashing lights".

"I immediately thought that's going to be the slide," he said.

Mr Datson said he saw ambulances, "a lot of worried people" and what appeared to be children on the floor.

"It looked like there were too many children on it and the side area had given way," he said.

"If, heaven forbid, they fell from the top I would say it's at least 25 to 30 feet tall."

Surrey Police tweeted this statement: "We've evacuated Woking Park this evening, where people were gathering for the fireworks celebrations, following the collapse of the Helter Skelter at the fairground.

"We are working with ambulance and emergency service colleagues. More information when we have it."

They have since corrected their original tweet, stating it was an inflatable slide, not a helter skelter ride.

The Woking Fireworks extravaganza was run by the Woking District Rotary Club and supported by Victoria Square and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The funfair was open from 6pm and the fireworks were due to start at 8pm with tickets costing £5 pounds for adults and £3 pounds for children.

The proceeds from the night were set to be distributed to local charities.

A spokesman for Woking Rotary said: "Really sorry but due to a major incident in the funfair area the police have asked us to evacuate the park. The fireworks display will therefore not take place tonight.

"We are all very shocked and distressed by events in the funfair this evening. We are focusing in assisting the emergency services in dealing with the injured children."

Others took to Twitter to criticise those people attending the display who were asking for their money back as they leaving the venue.

Ross said: "What I find disgusting is when we were evacuating Woking Fireworks due to a serious incident a group were asking for their money back. 1. Someone’s life is in danger and 2. Regardless of whether or not there were fireworks, it was for charity."

The organisers of the fireworks event tweeted this message: "We are all very shocked and distressed by events in the funfair this evening. We are focussing in assisting the emergency services in dealing with the injured children.

"If you’ll excuse us, we’ll turn our attention to dealing with ticketing issues etc when we can?"

Local musician Anna Neale said she was among the hundreds of people who evacuated the park, which had been packed with families with young children.

The 36-year-old mother-of-two said: "We saw all the blue lights and saw the air ambulance arriving. We all evacuated very calmly. Everyone was just shocked."

She had planned to take her daughters, aged 10 and six, on the giant slide after the fireworks.

She said: "I am very grateful my children didn't go on it, let's just put it that way.

"I hope everyone is ok."

Mimi, and 18-year-old student who was at the event, told The Sun Online: "I was playing one of the fairground games right next to the slide when it happened. We heard shouting and someone called us over to help.

"There were about seven kids lying on the ground screaming and saying they couldn't move or feel anything. Only one got up straight away.

"There was around 50 kids going up the stairs to the inflatable slide and the weight meant they all got tipped off the side.

"They fell 20ft and some of them landed on concrete.

"It was so hard to see all their families crying."

Oliver Trimble told the BBC a message went over the event's loudspeakers announcing the evacuation shortly before 8pm.

He said he saw victims being treated by medics, adding: "It was quite a horrendous sight to see."

"This is one of Woking's biggest events of the year, thousands of people come to see the fireworks," he said.

Eyewitness Sam Datson, 23, said: "I was at the event with a group of friends as we go most years.

"We walked past the inflatable slide which caught our attention as it seemed to be overcrowded.

"It didn't seem as though there was anybody supervising.

"The kids all seemed to be under 10 and they just seemed to be lobbing themselves onto the ride.

"There was at least 40 kids on the there which seemed far too much.

"It really did seem a bit out of control. We watched it for a few moments before making our way to the main fireworks display.

"A few minutes later we heard and saw sirens on the ground.

"I ran over to get some pictures and there was around nine or ten ambulances at that ride.

"I saw five kids on the floor who were being treated when I got there.

"Some appeared to be unconscious on the floor which is hardly surprising. If they fell from the top of the ride it looked between 25-30ft high so they would have made a big bump to the floor.

"I'm not too sure what actually happened as by time I got there the ride had already been cordoned off by police.

"There wasn't panic but among members of the public there was definitely a sense of worry.

"Around two minutes later it was announced on the tannoy that the ground was being evacuated and the fireworks display was cancelled.

"It's a large annual event and really popular in the area. It usually attracts around 10,000 people."

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