Family hospitalised after circus Big Top collapsed on their heads

Family hospitalised after circus Big Top collapsed on their head

Family hospitalised after circus Big Top collapsed on their head

First published in News
Last updated
by

A FAMILY were taken to hospital with head injuries after a circus tent ‘collapsed’ on the waiting audience.

An investigation is underway following the ‘frightening’ experience at Happy’s Circus on Sunday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the family circus at Burley Park in the New Forest after reports of the big top collapsing with around 30 people inside after strong winds.

The grandfather of the family who were injured said his son, daughter-in-law and two young grandchildren, who are on holiday in the area, remained “shaken” by the experience.

“Just as they were walking in the whole lot came down”, he said.

“My daughter-in-law was in front with my grandson in the pushchair and my son and granddaughter were behind.

“My son managed to get his daughter out first and then went back for his wife and son. He told me parents were screaming and he went back in and got more children out.

“His wife is still very distressed by the whole thing. She had one of the bars from the roof hit her on the head. She had to have a chest x-ray and has bruising to her ribs.

“My son had bleeding on his head from a cut and my grandson’s pushchair was toppled over. It’s completely ruined their holiday.”

A spokesperson for Happy’s Circus said Sunday’s incident was due to “exceptional circumstances. We are discussing the matter with the manufactures of the tent and arranging for test to be carried out”, they added.

Burley ward councillor, John Penwarden, pictured, said he would be looking into the incident with the council.

“My best wishes are of course with those who were hurt. I hope they are recovering well”, he added.

South Central Ambulance said they were called at 1.47pm to reports of a ‘tent collapse’ at Burley Park.

Three adults were taken to Southampton General Hospital by ambulance with ‘minor concussion-type injuries’.

It is understood the tent is being repaired and the circus is to continue with performances while an investigation into the tent’s strapping takes place.

They are due to return on Friday to continue their run.

Information on Happy’s Circus’ website says “all-weather” big top, which is 96ft by 56ft, seats up to 600 people.

New Forest District Council is investigating the incident to “try and establish the cause”.

It added: “Any action will depend on the outcome of the investigation.”

Comments (19)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:40am Thu 14 Aug 14

antistruggle says...

This is what happens when you have any work done by a bunch of clowns!
This is what happens when you have any work done by a bunch of clowns! antistruggle
  • Score: 34

7:41am Thu 14 Aug 14

RM says...

Thank goodness they will all recover OK.
Thank goodness they will all recover OK. RM
  • Score: 5

7:41am Thu 14 Aug 14

oversee says...

First time I've found a circus funny.
First time I've found a circus funny. oversee
  • Score: -3

7:47am Thu 14 Aug 14

Gingertree says...

Uh oh I see Mother Nature recivng a compo claim for the exceptionally high winds
Uh oh I see Mother Nature recivng a compo claim for the exceptionally high winds Gingertree
  • Score: 18

8:29am Thu 14 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

antistruggle wrote:
This is what happens when you have any work done by a bunch of clowns!
What! The Council put it up?
[quote][p][bold]antistruggle[/bold] wrote: This is what happens when you have any work done by a bunch of clowns![/p][/quote]What! The Council put it up? BIGTONE
  • Score: 30

9:48am Thu 14 Aug 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

Should the headline say 'heads' not head. Or did the tent just fall on the head of the family, the father?
Should the headline say 'heads' not head. Or did the tent just fall on the head of the family, the father? Telscombe Cliffy
  • Score: 3

10:00am Thu 14 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

Telscombe Cliffy wrote:
Should the headline say 'heads' not head. Or did the tent just fall on the head of the family, the father?
You actually think one of the writers would understand the difference?
[quote][p][bold]Telscombe Cliffy[/bold] wrote: Should the headline say 'heads' not head. Or did the tent just fall on the head of the family, the father?[/p][/quote]You actually think one of the writers would understand the difference? speedy231278
  • Score: 7

10:01am Thu 14 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

Sounds like an intents experience.
Sounds like an intents experience. speedy231278
  • Score: 12

10:26am Thu 14 Aug 14

West Howe Sean says...

Accidents do happen.

There does not have to be somebody to blame.

We seem to have created a society that wants to blame people for everything. This is why the roads are closed for so long after an accident. The police. want to find someone to blame and charge
Accidents do happen. There does not have to be somebody to blame. We seem to have created a society that wants to blame people for everything. This is why the roads are closed for so long after an accident. The police. want to find someone to blame and charge West Howe Sean
  • Score: 14

10:45am Thu 14 Aug 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

West Howe Sean wrote:
Accidents do happen.

There does not have to be somebody to blame.

We seem to have created a society that wants to blame people for everything. This is why the roads are closed for so long after an accident. The police. want to find someone to blame and charge
Quite right, if the wind blows hard enough it will flatten anything.
[quote][p][bold]West Howe Sean[/bold] wrote: Accidents do happen. There does not have to be somebody to blame. We seem to have created a society that wants to blame people for everything. This is why the roads are closed for so long after an accident. The police. want to find someone to blame and charge[/p][/quote]Quite right, if the wind blows hard enough it will flatten anything. Telscombe Cliffy
  • Score: 7

10:53am Thu 14 Aug 14

Dchadder says...

A disturbing juxtaposition of factors here. The New Forest vigorously protects it's farmed animals that are free to roam the Commoner's land rights. New Forest activists protest about having too many cyclists on public roads at one time; that is, not on Commoner's grazing landscape. Cyclists rarely harm other people or animals in the New Forest. Cyclists are quiet and peaceful. The New Forest allows a Circus into their landscape! Does this circus have captured performing animals? Circus tent collapses, harming people. Ergo, stick with cycling, it's safer for all.
A disturbing juxtaposition of factors here. The New Forest vigorously protects it's farmed animals that are free to roam the Commoner's land rights. New Forest activists protest about having too many cyclists on public roads at one time; that is, not on Commoner's grazing landscape. Cyclists rarely harm other people or animals in the New Forest. Cyclists are quiet and peaceful. The New Forest allows a Circus into their landscape! Does this circus have captured performing animals? Circus tent collapses, harming people. Ergo, stick with cycling, it's safer for all. Dchadder
  • Score: -15

10:58am Thu 14 Aug 14

Dchadder says...

Ok, just viewed Happy's Circus website. They have no animals, just performing people. Nah, I am off for a bike ride thanks.
Ok, just viewed Happy's Circus website. They have no animals, just performing people. Nah, I am off for a bike ride thanks. Dchadder
  • Score: -7

11:22am Thu 14 Aug 14

Loverleecat says...

I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence?
I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence? Loverleecat
  • Score: 0

11:50am Thu 14 Aug 14

Buddles says...

Loverleecat wrote:
I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence?
Not necessarily a case of the structure not being secured properly. In fact the opposite is true. The more secure a "tempory structure" such as tarpaulins and tented structures are, the more they act like a sail due to the enormous resistance they put up. It is normal practice in high winds to release some of that resistance by loosening guys or rolling up walls to allow the wind to pass through. Something that is commonly done in high winds at outdoor festival stages to stop them blowing over with disastrous results.
[quote][p][bold]Loverleecat[/bold] wrote: I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence?[/p][/quote]Not necessarily a case of the structure not being secured properly. In fact the opposite is true. The more secure a "tempory structure" such as tarpaulins and tented structures are, the more they act like a sail due to the enormous resistance they put up. It is normal practice in high winds to release some of that resistance by loosening guys or rolling up walls to allow the wind to pass through. Something that is commonly done in high winds at outdoor festival stages to stop them blowing over with disastrous results. Buddles
  • Score: 9

3:39pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Loverleecat says...

Good point Buddles. Interestingly the staff did say they had put extra securings on that day because of the high winds warning. Seems therefore that they did the wrong thing...maybe they should have known that. This has nothing to do with compensation - I have no interest in that despite the trauma. Well, maybe some free tickets would be nice if I could steel myself to go back inside!
Good point Buddles. Interestingly the staff did say they had put extra securings on that day because of the high winds warning. Seems therefore that they did the wrong thing...maybe they should have known that. This has nothing to do with compensation - I have no interest in that despite the trauma. Well, maybe some free tickets would be nice if I could steel myself to go back inside! Loverleecat
  • Score: 0

5:58pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Surveyorman says...

My son's family were injured in this " incident". The wind was too strong in the morning and the performance was cancelled, the afternoon performance went ahead but the tent collapsed before many people went in. The wind was no less in the afternoon.. the wind certainly didn't stop the show packing up and clearing off before 7pm, not even a solitary member of staff remained. Shameful behavior of a so-called family company. No attempt to contact the injured until it appears in the newspaper.
Before some of you shout about compensation culture, just remember this organization specialize in schools, be grateful your children or grandchildren didn't get injured and traumatized by what is supposed to be a fun day out.
My son's family were injured in this " incident". The wind was too strong in the morning and the performance was cancelled, the afternoon performance went ahead but the tent collapsed before many people went in. The wind was no less in the afternoon.. the wind certainly didn't stop the show packing up and clearing off before 7pm, not even a solitary member of staff remained. Shameful behavior of a so-called family company. No attempt to contact the injured until it appears in the newspaper. Before some of you shout about compensation culture, just remember this organization specialize in schools, be grateful your children or grandchildren didn't get injured and traumatized by what is supposed to be a fun day out. Surveyorman
  • Score: -1

8:56pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Loverleecat says...

I do understand your anger 'Surveyorman' - as you will see, I was there too. However, I can't see how the staff being there at 7pm would have helped any of us. I agree they could have taken details of those of us who were most affected, but they, rightly or wrongly, were clearly very distressed themselves and probably not thinking any clearer than we were. I hope you and your family can soon 'move on' as I wish for myself too! From previous e pertinence I can only say it was a brilliant circus and it is a shame it has come to this,
I do understand your anger 'Surveyorman' - as you will see, I was there too. However, I can't see how the staff being there at 7pm would have helped any of us. I agree they could have taken details of those of us who were most affected, but they, rightly or wrongly, were clearly very distressed themselves and probably not thinking any clearer than we were. I hope you and your family can soon 'move on' as I wish for myself too! From previous e pertinence I can only say it was a brilliant circus and it is a shame it has come to this, Loverleecat
  • Score: 2

12:12am Fri 15 Aug 14

Surveyorman says...

Loverleecat, the fact that they made no attempt to make contact, leaving a family with a 6 and 3 year old stuck in Southampton, with no means of getting back to Burley and no contact details is a shameful act. This is not the actions of a caring organization. As upset as the staff may have been it is not comparable to the terror of two young children and their parents suddenly struck by falling poles and equipment and then being buried under a heavy weight tent.
Professionals put aside their own feelings and act in a responsible manner, they don't start crying about their future, they deal with the immediate situation and the safety and welfare of the customer. God forbid the tent had been full or it was full of schoolchildren. They may all have been left to fend for themselves while the company folded up the tent and hitched up the wagons.
What sets a good company apart is how they deal with a situation when it arises, in my opinion, this company failed.
Loverleecat, the fact that they made no attempt to make contact, leaving a family with a 6 and 3 year old stuck in Southampton, with no means of getting back to Burley and no contact details is a shameful act. This is not the actions of a caring organization. As upset as the staff may have been it is not comparable to the terror of two young children and their parents suddenly struck by falling poles and equipment and then being buried under a heavy weight tent. Professionals put aside their own feelings and act in a responsible manner, they don't start crying about their future, they deal with the immediate situation and the safety and welfare of the customer. God forbid the tent had been full or it was full of schoolchildren. They may all have been left to fend for themselves while the company folded up the tent and hitched up the wagons. What sets a good company apart is how they deal with a situation when it arises, in my opinion, this company failed. Surveyorman
  • Score: 2

5:01pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Peroni says...

Loverleecat wrote:
I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence?
Interested for what reason .......... A claim ?
[quote][p][bold]Loverleecat[/bold] wrote: I was also inside along with my son and two young grandchildren and a friend when the big top collapsed on Sunday. It is hard to put in to words how frightening it was and I am still very much deeply affected by it despite the fact that none of us were physically hurt. It is a great circus, we have seen it before - better than the Moscow State Circus my step-daughter thinks. Therefore we were very upset that, on the day, according to the devastated and tearful circus staff, they would now be 'finished' and out of business. Now, my mood has changed a little as possibly the tent was just not secured properly in the first place. This could have been a total disaster and the fact that happily it wasn't shouldn't distract from the fact it happened at all. Accidents happen, but was this an accident or negligence?[/p][/quote]Interested for what reason .......... A claim ? Peroni
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree