Surgeons At Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Fought To Save Schoolboy Jack Beckett–Chapman’s Life After Fall Left Him Critically Injured
The mum of a 12-year-old boy who fractured his skull and hand after being thrown from a fairground ride has instructed expert serious injury lawyers to investigate the circumstances of her son’s life-threatening accident, which almost left him blind.
Caroline Beckett from Heron’s Reach, Blackpool was telephoned by oldest son Charlie, 13, and told that Jack was seriously injured after falling from a spinning bowl-style ride and trapping his head in the machine’s door when he visited Fosters Funfair at Poulton Gala with friends on Sunday, June 4.
Jack was airlifted from Cottam Hall playing fields in Poulton to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where surgeons battled to first save his life and then to restore blood supply to his right eye, which was cut off when his socket became displaced, risking his vision.
Caroline, a child protection officer, has instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to examine the circumstances surrounding the accident after Lancashire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began investigations amid conflicting accounts of what happened.
She said: “When Charlie told me what happened the bottom just fell out of my world. He was on another ride when it happened and was told by witnesses whose account of the accident was just horrific. It’s difficult to think about. I just got in the car and drove straight to the scene.
“Charlie said people told him they were banging on the door of the operator kiosk demanding the ride to be stopped. Jack had been thrown into the entrance to the ride and his head was stuck in the door as the ride continued. It must have been terrifying to witness and obviously even worse for Jack.
“What has caused me a lot of upset is being told by passers-by that the ride carried on for a while after Jack’s horrific accident, until police stopped it - his blood was apparently still on the door. I can’t stand the idea that another child could suffer like Jack did so I believe the ride should have closed immediately and stay closed until the HSE and police are satisfied no one else is at risk.
“Jack has had a lucky escape, if you can call a fractured skull lucky. The staff at Alder Hey were amazing and fought so hard to save his sight. We owe them a great deal.
“Apart from finding out the long-term implications of Jack’s injuries, which we will hopefully know in time, I just want to know how it could have happened in the first place. I don’t want any other parent to experience the same stomach-churning call I did. People need reassurance. And if there are lessons to be learned, swift action must be taken to protect the public.”
Caroline’s legal team is now calling on anyone who witnessed the accident or anyone who has been injured on a similar ride to get in touch to help with their inquiry.
Expert Opinion“Now that Jack is recovering from his horrific injuries, his family’s focus is naturally turning to how this terrible accident could happen and whether anything could have been done to prevent it.
“Thousands of children enjoy these rides as part of travelling funfairs up and down the country every year and understandably this accident will have caused some concern among parents, so it’s reassuring that both the police and the HSE are investigating to hopefully bring Jack and his family some answers. We will be examining their findings with interest.
“We are supporting the family during the investigation and assisting Jack in identifying any rehabilitative therapies or support he needs as he recovers from his traumatic injuries.” Richard Biggs - Senior Associate Solicitor
Jack was visiting the funfair with his Charlie, 13 and some friends when he decided to go on the tagada-like ride, where thrill-seekers are spun around in a large spinning bowl and bounced to the beat of the music using hydraulics.
But within minutes, witnesses on the ground saw Jack fly across the inside of the bowl and towards the ride’s door, trapping his head as the ride continued.
Alerted by the frantic witnesses, operators shut the ride down and an off-duty medic came to the schoolboy’s aid while an air ambulance was scrambled to the scene.
Jack underwent a four-hour operation to restore the blood supply to his eye and medics are now monitoring him as an outpatient to assess the potential for long term damage. He also had surgery to repair two serious breaks in his left hand and may require a further procedure at a later date.
The youngster now has an agonising six-week wait to find out if his sight will be fully restored, or whether he will continue suffering from the double vision he has experienced since coming round from surgery.
He has been unable to return to school since the incident just over a week ago as doctors have warned that a bump in the school corridor between lessons could have catastrophic consequences.
Anyone with any information about the incident at Foster’s Funfair or who has been in a similar accident should call Richard Biggs at Irwin Mitchell on 0161 838 3092 or Richard.Biggs@IrwinMitchell.com
If you or a loved one have experienced a serious injury and need help making a claim, find out how our solicitors could help you.