HEALTH and safety officials have launched an investigation after a cable snapped on a family theme park ride yesterday.

A woman and two children were on the ride when the incident took place at Adventure Wonderland opposite Bournemouth Airport around 3.15pm.

Paramedics were called to the park, which was packed full of families for half-term, and took the woman to hospital with reported bruising to her back and treated the two children at the scene for shock.

The mother of the two children told the Daily Echo the cable snapped on the PollyDrop ride, before the back-up cable came into play.

Mother Debbie Hill said: “Both of the children are shaken up. It must have been horrible for them, especially being stuck in the ride afterwards.

“They looked very scared when I got to them. They were very white.”

Mrs Hill, whose children Katherine, 10, and Timothy, 7, were on the ride with her neighbour, Regan Jones, 39, said: “They were up in the air when the cable broke.

“I didn’t see what happened and I’m really grateful now that I didn’t. I think it would have been horrific.

“It’s every parent’s nightmare to see that I should think.

“I had taken my neighbour’s little girl on a small ride and I had just come off when I became aware that something had happened.

“I just saw people rushing over to where the ride was.

“They couldn’t release the barriers normally as it was broken I think and they were worried about injuries.

“Staff were on the scene immediately though.”

Debbie, who is visiting Bournemouth from Gloucester, added: “The ambulance arrived after about five minutes but it seemed like much longer.”

Peter and Madelaine Witts’, daughter Regan was on the ride with the children.

Mr Witts, 69, said: “The cable broke.

“They were three quarters of the way up when it happened. It happened so quickly – there were a lot of people around.”

Greg Morris, 38, of Ferndown, said: “A lady was taken away by paramedics but she climbed on to their stretcher under her own steam. As far as I could tell there were two kids and one adult.”

Les Lipscombe, 71, of Dorset, said: “We just saw the woman being carried away.

“She was waving to people though so hopefully she was ok.”

On its website, Adventure Wonderland invites guests to “take the plunge with the PollyDrop ride”.

“It's designed to make you fall off your perch with fun and laughter as it plummets and plunges from over nine metres high at spectacular speeds”, the website says.

‘Back-up came into play’

Russell Lucas, one of the directors of Adventure Wonderland, said: “We know it was reported that the ride had gone down without being on its cable.

“The duty manager immediately went across and so did the ride manager.

“Thankfully no-one was badly hurt.

“There are two cables on the ride and it appears the back-up cable came into play and allowed it to go down safely which is why the three of them are okay and we are delighted that was the case.

“The cables had been replaced over the winter and they have maintenance inspections every day. There is a major inspection during the winter carried out by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) inspectors and then we have daily, monthly, weekly inspections.”

He added: “Our reputation is exemplary and we are a park for small children. Our record is second to none.”