Reaction to Durham Inflatable Art Disaster

Inflatable artwork accident at Riverside Park


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will continue to investigate the circumstances in which 2 women were killed and a three year old girl seriously injured after an inflatable artwork broke from its moorings and floated 30 feet into the air. Thirteen other people were injured in the accident.

The work, Dreamscape V, had almost 30 people inside it while it travelled a distance of 120 feet, before being brought down by a CCTV camera pole. The accident occurred in the afternoon of 23rd July, at Riverside Park near County Durham Cricket Club. The park has since been cordoned off to allow inspectors from the HSE to begin their investigation.

Local authorities and private bodies that organise events, shows and sporting activities must comply with health and safety regulations to keep a particular place safe for visitors. The HSE may choose to prosecute the organizers of the Dreamscape exhibition if it can be shown that they failed to adhere to strict regulations on public health and safety.

For those left injured or bereaved, it may also be possible to pursue a claim for compensation, if it can be shown that the injury was caused by negligence or a breach of statutory duties. Witnesses to the event who may not have suffered a physical injury can in some limited circumstances claim for psychological injuries.

Serious accidents that occur in public places often affect a large number of people, with similar injuries arising from common circumstances. It is possible that any action for compensation could be brought on behalf of a group of claimants, by way of a multi-party action, or Group Action. This benefits claimants by providing for, amongst other things, a sharing out of the cost of litigation.

Irwin Mitchell has represented victims and their families after the Marchioness disaster and the Hatfield train crash, and has a wealth of experience in bringing claims on behalf of groups of people.

Have you got a claim? If you or someone you know was involved in this incident, or a similar incident, our solicitors can help. Visit the Group Actions section for details on making a multi-party claim.