Witnesses at Winter Wonderland heard massive BANG when slingshot ride SNAPPED and smashed into beam

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Horrified witnesses at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland said they heard a massive bang when a slingshot ride snapped and smashed into a support bream with two people inside.

The pair of boys were left trapped on the ride for 20 minutes on Wednesday night after it dramatically failed in front of scores of people.

Emergency services were called to the scene and firefighters were required to bring the riders back to the ground.

On Thursday morning The Snowball could be seen partially dismantled  with the seating pod removed, with a spokesperson for the event saying it would be ‘closed while a further investigation takes place’.

Witnesses at Winter Wonderland heard massive BANG when slingshot ride SNAPPED and smashed into beam

The seating pod on the fairground ride has been removed after it crashed into a support beam on Wednesday night

Two people who were in the seating pod were suspended in the air on Wednesday night

Two people who were in the seating pod were suspended in the air on Wednesday night

The seating pod on the fairground ride at the popular London Christmas attraction crashed into the support beam with riders still inside last night

The seating pod on the fairground ride at the popular London Christmas attraction crashed into the support beam with riders still inside last night

Security cleared the area as the seating pod could be seen hanging to one side of the ride

Security cleared the area as the seating pod could be seen hanging to one side of the ride

The ride typically uses elastic-propelled cords to launch the pod straight up into the air as if propelled by a slingshot. 

In video posted online by Becky Littlewood, a technical issue caused the release of one of the elastic cords and steel wire ropes.

The remaining band recoiled to the side and sent the pod hurtling into one of the ride’s support beams, leaving the riders suspended in mid-air. 

She told the Sun: ‘We heard a massive bang, turned round and saw people just hanging there

‘They were sat there for about 20 minutes while they figured out how to get them down.’ 

An organisation which monitors safety on amusement rides said the incident not caused by a problem with the cord, but a ‘technical issue’ in ‘a sealed gearbox that controls the release of the elastic cord and steel wire rope’.

For some visitors today, hearing news of ‘high speed thrill ride’ The Snowball malfunctioning affirmed their pre-existing fear of rides – and they added they wouldn’t be going on them anyway.

A group of three young women did not want to be named had not heard about the ride crash, but said they were already put off going on rides because they saw a member of staff pushing a roller coaster cart along the tracks today.

One of them said: ‘We saw someone walking on the tracks of the roller coaster, it was a member of staff and I think the cab got stuck.

‘And then we saw him climbing up there and we thought, nah, we’re not going on that.

‘They were going along in the cart then it stopped, so the member of staff got on the tracks and pushed it back along again. That was about 11am.

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‘You know what, I would be more cautious about going on anything here because it’s transportable, I feel it’s better if it’s actually in the ground and been there for a while.

‘I’d be a bit more wary.’

The Snowball Launcher, at Winter Wonderland, was out of service on Thursday

The Snowball Launcher, at Winter Wonderland, was out of service on Thursday

The ride pictured on Thursday, December 15, after it malfunctioned the night before

The ride pictured on Thursday, December 15, after it malfunctioned the night before

A rung missing on The Snowball Launcher, roughly where the cage collided with the structure, at Winter Wonderland

A rung missing on The Snowball Launcher, roughly where the cage collided with the structure, at Winter Wonderland

The ride is not open to customers visiting Winter Wonderland on Thursday

The ride is not open to customers visiting Winter Wonderland on Thursday 

The ride in Winter Wonderland was closed on Thursday after an issue with its release system

The ride in Winter Wonderland was closed on Thursday after an issue with its release system

The rules of riding bear a warning for passengers that they must not be 'of a timid nature'

The rules of riding bear a warning for passengers that they must not be ‘of a timid nature’

A second member of the group agreed, and added: ‘I can’t trust this stuff, because how do they transport it, how do they build it? How does it stay steady?’

Another said finding out about the slingshot’s malfunction yesterday meant she wouldn’t go on more rides.

‘I wouldn’t go on a ride now that I know that, not now knowing what we know,’ she said.

‘We did go on the ferris wheel though.’

Couple Sam and Tony Wears — a nurse and a consultant — had just come off one of the rides when they said they had heard the news of the ride crash, but weren’t scared.

Mr Wears said: ‘We saw the news last night but it’s not put us off enough to not go on the rides.

Ben and Jess Singer — both bankers — said they heard the news but wouldn't be caught on any rides anyway

Ben and Jess Singer — both bankers — said they heard the news but wouldn’t be caught on any rides anyway

‘I think it takes mental strength to get on the rides anyway, we were a bit wary of it though. But we had a good time, I think this is the only ride for us though — to the Bavarian Village now.’

Ben and Jess Singer — both bankers — said they heard the news but wouldn’t be caught on any rides anyway.

Ms Singer, 29, said she thought it was a joke when she heard the news, and definitely wouldn’t go on a ride like that now.

She said: ‘I thought it was a joke, I thought ‘Is that real?’

‘I mean we wouldn’t go on rides like that anyway, but even more so now — you would not get me on anything like that anyway.

‘We were reading about the accident on the train up here, and I said you 100 per cent won’t be catching me on any of those now.

Mr Singer, 31, said: ‘You’re not going to catch us on any rides, I wouldn’t go on something like that.

‘It does feel different to other years, not necessarily because of the stabbing or the crash, it’s just a lot more expensive this year.

‘It feels a bit different at eight o’clock at night.’

Leah Rogers, a 21-year-old actor and Winter Wonderland regular, said the fairground is quieter than previous years.

She said: ‘My birthday is December so Winter Wonderland is like my favourite place, it’s where I like to spend my birthday.

‘It feels quieter today, this is the quietest I’ve ever seen it. It’s never been this quiet, it’s busier in the darkness.’

Leah Rogers, a 21-year-old actor and Winter Wonderland regular, said the fairground is quieter than previous years

Leah Rogers, a 21-year-old actor and Winter Wonderland regular, said the fairground is quieter than previous years

Sarah, in marketing, had read the news, but said: ‘I think we would just avoid going on that ride, I wouldn’t be coming for those anyway — I would be coming for the social.’

Ali Hussain, 29, works in admin and said the malfunction was just another reason he wouldn’t go on rides.

‘I saw that news about that slingshot, I don’t really go on rides to be fair,’ he said.

‘I saw that yesterday, and I thought, nah, that’s just another reason I wouldn’t go on a ride.

‘It’s been snowing and that, so I thought it might be something to do with the snow.

‘You come here once a year, there’s not really anything that puts me off it — if I was something that actually got on rides then it would probably affect me differently.’

The ride went badly wrong last night when a technical issue caused the release of one of the elastic cords and steel wire ropes

The ride went badly wrong last night when a technical issue caused the release of one of the elastic cords and steel wire ropes

Parkgoers have expressed relief they didn’t go on ride, after the footage was seen online.

One person said: ‘My husband was begging me to get on the slingshot ride in Winter Wonderland, I’m sooo glad I didn’t.’

Another added: ‘This is why I don’t put my kids on these things. The risk do not outweigh the reward!’

‘You will NEVER catch me on one of these,’ another viewer said. 

Others said that the two people were ‘lucky’, with one adding: Imagine if snapped full stretched out’.

‘Could have easily snapped their necks’, another commenter said.      

One man who watched the footage said he thinks the site ‘should be closed down’. 

Shocked revellers looked on as the ride crashed yesterday and some gasped out loud as it happened.

It is understood that neither of the riders were taken to hospital, having been checked for injuries by on-site medics. 

It is not the first incident to have marred the popular attraction this winter, after a stabbing outside the entrance earlier this week. 

A member of staff stops patrons Winter Wonderland from getting to the slingshot ride after the incident

A member of staff stops patrons Winter Wonderland from getting to the slingshot ride after the incident

Another video shows staff at Winter Wonderland blocking access to the ride just after the crash.

It also shows fire engines from the London Fire Brigade attending the incident on blue lights.

The London Fire Brigade said on Twitter: ‘Firefighters were called to Winter Wonderland last night as two people were trapped inside a bungee carriage. 

‘They were freed by on-site staff and there was no action required by the Brigade.’

A Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that a technical issue involving the reverse bungee occurred on Wednesday evening. 

‘Both riders were safely escorted off the ride, checked by our on-site medics and were not injured.

‘Safety is our highest priority and the ride is closed while further investigation takes place. 

‘All of our rides undergo rigorous and regular safety checks by experienced members of staff trained in health and safety. We also provide regular training for all staff to ensure our visitors can enjoy a fun and safe experience.

‘All other attractions at Winter Wonderland are operating as normal.’

The Met said in a statement: ‘Police were called at 20.22 on Wednesday 14 December to reports of two people trapped in a bungee ride in Hyde Park.

‘Officers attended along with London Fire Brigade.

‘It was reported that two teenage boys have been in a fairground ride when there was an incident that left the cage they were riding in suspended in the air.

‘The cage had been lowered down before police arrived and the boys had also left the scene. There were no reported injuries.

‘A preliminary inspection indicates there was a technical fault within a sealed gearbox that controls the release of the elastic cord and steel wire rope. Further inspections are ongoing.

‘The Health and Safety Executive has been alerted about the incident.’

The Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme, an organisation that monitors the safety of amusement park rides, said: ‘We can confirm that the elastic cord and the steel wire rope supporting the reverse bungee gondola in which the public sit has not snapped or failed in any way.

‘We inspected the ride at 7am this morning and it was found that a technical issue had occurred within a sealed gearbox that controls the release of the elastic cord and steel wire rope.’

  • Do you know the riders in the slingshot? Email jessica.warren@mailonline.co.uk

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