Oakwood: Park 'deeply saddened' after person injured on Treetops rollercoaster

Video report by Gwennan Campbell

Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire has said it is 'deeply saddened' after a person was involved in an accident on one of its rollercoaster rides.

An investigation is now underway by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a man was taken to hospital following the incident on the Treetops ride.

The public were asked to leave the park on Sunday (October 23) following the incident which saw the Wales Air Ambulance called to the scene at around 1pm.

Sian Clayton, HSE’s head of operations in Wales, said: “Our inspectors are investigating an incident on the Treetops rollercoaster at Oakwood Theme Park. We will provide more information when we can.”

The theme park was evacuated shortly after 1pm. Credit: Google Maps

She also confirmed that one person had been taken to hospital and the park is currently closed to the public.

Eyewitness, Bob Murphy, said people at the theme park yesterday were shocked by the events. He said: "We saw an Air Ambulance turn up about an hour after we realised something had happened and we watched it land near the pirate ship and yeah the atmosphere in the park was very solemn, very unsure.

"Not long after that a member of staff approached us not far from Treetops and just politely said there's been an incident, we've got to close the park for the day."

He added: "Everyone who grows up here goes there usually with the school in the summer holidays as an end of year trip.

"A lot of people's first jobs when they're 17 is usually working on rides or operating a food stall at Oakwood so it is certainly a staple of growing up in Pembrokeshire but also the amount of people it brings in from Ireland and all across the UK"

In a statement, issued by Oakwood on Monday evening a spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by the incident that took place on our Treetops ride on Sunday, October 23, in which one of our visitors sustained an injury.

"We are co-operating fully with the HSE investigation into the incident and are unable to comment further at this stage.

"The health, safety, and wellbeing of all our visitors and staff is of paramount importance to us. Following guidance from the HSE, Oakwood Theme Park will re-open for the half term holiday in Wales on Saturday 29th October as planned with Treetops remaining closed during the period of investigation.

"All guests affected by yesterday’s closure, will be contacted directly by a member of our team."

Park-goer Aaron McCalmon, 47, said he had been waiting to go on the rollercoaster with his daughter and a friend.He said: "I heard a big bang and saw the man hanging out with his legs stuck in the carriage."He was trying to pull himself back in but as it was coming down, it went around and he fell out."He was with his teenage daughter. As he fell out the people behind had to hold his daughter to stop her from falling out."Mr McCalmon, of Port Talbot, South Wales, said he had previously been turned away from the ride because it was being checked by engineers.He said: "This was out second attempt to go on the ride. The first time they were working on that carriage so said to come back."I did see the guy checking the bars before it went, but it still opened."

Sean Hayes, of London, was also visiting with his wife and daughter when he heard screams just one minute into the Treetops ride.He said: "I shouted for the ride to stop and staff were clearly panicking to get it stopped."It went on for a bit before it grinded to a halt. We had to evacuate the ride on a bend and staff were present to help people off."Mr Hayes said he went to collect his bag after getting off the ride before he saw a man lying on the ground.He added: "Within 20 mins an air ambulance arrived and I also saw a lot of police turning up."

The park opened in the late 1980s and introduced a number of rollercoasters in the late 90s.

The Treetops ride is a rollercoaster which travels through woodlands in the park. It has been in operation since 1989.