Eight children were seriously hurt last night after falling from a 30ft-high inflatable slide at a major fireworks display.
Horrified witnesses saw about 15 to 20 children plunge on to concrete when the slide in Woking Park, Surrey, suddenly began to ‘buckle’.
One man, who was with his wife and nine-month-old son, said: ‘We heard kids screaming and then saw them begin to fall off the side.’
Another witness, Oliver Trimble, saw victims being treated by medics, adding: ‘It was quite a horrendous sight to see.’
Others reported that the slide had earlier looked ‘flimsy and unsafe’.
But despite the severity of the casualties, some disgruntled attendees at the event were quick to take to social media to request refunds.
One parent, Carl, told Radio 5 Live his ‘parental instinct kicked in’ when he saw the slide, telling his young son: ‘There’s no way you’re going on there.’
The slide (pictured) was believed to have collapsed at the fireworks display at the park in Woking
They have since removed the posts following outrage from other Twitter users.
Organisers at the local Rotary Club responded on Twitter: ‘We are all very shocked and distressed by events in the funfair this evening.
‘We are focusing in assisting the emergency services in dealing with the injured children.
‘If you’ll excuse us, we’ll turn our attention to dealing with ticketing issues etc when we can?’
Emergency workers said those hurt suffered a range of spinal and neck injuries, and broken arms and legs. Some were taken to hospital by air ambulance.
Woking Fireworks had tweeted that they would deal with ticketing issues later, as some people asked for refunds
One user had replied to a thread from Woking Fireworks where others had asked for refunds
Some people suggested that the refunded ticket price should be donated to the air ambulance service
Some Twitter users described those asking for refunds as ‘scumbags’
Woking Fireworks tweeted to apologise for having to evacuate the park
Twitter users responded to the statement from Woking Fireworks regarding the incident
Safety guidelines say there should be no more that 12 people on an inflatable of that size at any time, but witnesses suggest that more than three times that number of children were on the slide when it collapsed.
Andy Datson, 23, saw up to 40 children on the inflatable.
He said: ‘We had been walking past earlier in the night and said it looked unsafe. It looked pretty flimsy to say the least.
‘There were far too many kids on it. It didn’t look like it could hold that many people.’
The horrific accident happened at 7.20pm at a funfair held alongside one of Surrey’s biggest fireworks displays, which attracts about 12,000 spectators.
Surrey Police declared a ‘major incident’ saying it involved ‘a number of people falling from an inflatable slide’.
Police officers surrounded the slide, situated in the funfair area of the park where a fireworks display was due to take place
The air ambulance reportedly left the park at around 9.15PM to transport the last casulaties
The force added: ‘A number of children fell from the slide and were injured. Eight children have been taken to hospital… with potentially serious injuries.
The tragic toll of inflatables
JULY 2018: Three-year-old Ava-May Littleboy dies after being thrown 20ft when an inflatable trampoline explodes on Gorleston Beach in Norfolk.
AUGUST 2016: Nine children are hurt when an inflatable slide blows over in Swanage, Dorset.
MARCH 2016: Summer Grant, seven, dies after a bouncy castle is blown 50ft into the air with her stuck inside in Harlow, Essex.
JUNE 2015: Four children and an adult are injured in Fife when an inflatable slide slips its moorings and is blown 150 yards.
JULY 2006: Claire Furmedge, 38, and Elizabeth Collings, 68, die and 12 others are seriously hurt when an inflatable sculpture blows 30ft into the air in Co Durham.
‘We are grateful to the public of Woking for their understanding and assistance in quickly evacuating the scene.’
Musician Anna Neale was among hundreds of people evacuated from the park, which had been packed with families with young children awaiting the fireworks display.
The 36-year-old said: ‘We saw all the blue lights and then the air ambulance arriving. We all evacuated very calmly. Everyone was just shocked.’
She had planned to take her daughters, aged ten and six, on the giant slide after the fireworks. ‘I am very grateful my children didn’t go on it, let’s just put it that way.’
Others described the aftermath, with one saying: ‘The mood is very sombre… It’s very quiet.’
Other witnesses described the horrifying event, saying: ‘It is a terrible scene. many of the children have got broken arms and legs and obviously terrified.
‘I have seen the air ambulance arrive at the scene and at least one of the children has been flown to St. Georges Hospital in London where doctors have been put on standby.’
Ambulances leaving Woking firework display after up to seven children were injured on an inflatable slide
The fun fair at the fireworks display was empty following the incident
Ambulances from all over Surrey were scrambled to the incident and at least four of the badly hurt children were taken to St Peter’s Hospital, in Chertsey, in a serious condition.
Surrey Police earlier said in a statement: ‘We have declared a major incident following a number of people falling from an inflatable slide at the Woking Park fireworks display at around 7.30pm this evening.
‘We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, or has video or photographic footage of what happened, to make contact with Surrey Police via 101, or surrey.police.uk/ReportIt, quoting reference PR/P18262524.’
The event was being held at Woking Park, on Kingfield Road. Gates opened for the event at 6PM this evening and the firework display was set to begin at around 8PM.
Tickets for the event were priced at £12 for a family which would include two adults and two children, and this price was for attendees who purchased their tickets in advance online.
Organised by the Rotary Club of Woking District, the ‘Fireworks Extravaganza’ is considered to be one of the best firework displays in the South East, and in the past has been one of the most popular events held in Woking.
Police and ambulance crews arrived at the scene, following the collapse of the Helter Skelter
Pictures from Woking Fireworks show members of the emergency services treating an unknown patient next to an inflatable slide.
People at the event have been evacuated following the incident
Social media users were keen to show their support and one user ‘Roy Cooper’ said: ‘I sincerely hope the injuries aren’t too serious.
‘My grandson was on the inflatable next to the incident at the time. Never seen so many ambulances. Thoughts are with all the families concerned.
‘Jit Kakad’ posted: ‘Just seen air ambulance hovering above the park – just hope those injured are being attended to swiftly.’
After being evacuated many users took to social media to express their well-wishes for the people injured during the incident.
Once user ‘Anna’ wrote on Twitter: ‘Just been evacuated from Woking fireworks due to a fairground ride collapsing thoughts out to everyone involved.’
Gates opened for the event at 6PM and the fireworks display was set to begin at around 8PM
Attendees at the funfair had to be evacuated and it was reported that around 12,000 people had showed up
Ambulance crews at the scene at the park in Woking, Surrey where people were earlier evacuated
Other users were disgusted by other attendees who had asked for refunds with one user ‘Chris Young’, labelling them as scumbags.
He said: ‘Just do a search for ‘Woking Fireworks’ on Twitter. You’ll see the scumbags asking for refunds.’
He also added: ‘It’s nothing short of appalling that people’s minds go straight to money when children have been seriously injured.
‘We don’t care about getting our money back, we just want all those involved to be OK. Keep up the good work @wokingfireworks.’
Tim Noble said that these people were a ‘failure to human society’.
Police officers were deployed to help the flow of traffic coming out of the park
Tickets for the event cost around £6 per head with family tickets also available
Responding to a thread he said: ‘to the woman that was not impressed for not being given a refund you are a failure to human society we stopped to listen to you saying its not your fault its its not your problem a few children have been seriously hurt if not worse and all you care about is your family ticket.’
Tom McLaughlin said that ‘anyone asking for their money back, now or at all, should be thoroughly ashamed’.
Replying to the thread, ‘Helen’ said: ‘OMG that’s shocking that people are asking for their money back at a time like this….’
Other users suggested that they could donate the refunded amount to the people who had been affected by the incident, Tyler Anthony Groves said: ‘People are inexcusable! I will donate my £12 to the families effected or the air ambulance if you don’t mind.’
Several police cars were parked around the surrounding area of the park as emergency services dealt with the incident
Emergency service vehicles such as ambulances and police cars lined the roads on the outside of the park
Police had to close the roads around the park after the inflatable collapsed leaving revellers injured