Australian authorities are investigating the death of a Malaysian girl who was flung “like a doll” from a spinning ride at the Royal Adelaide Show where showgoers laid flowers for her on Saturday (13th September).
The girl, 8, who was reportedly visiting Australia with her family, was thrown from the AirMaxx 360 ride on Friday afternoon, South Australian police said in a statement. She was treated by paramedics and taken to an Adelaide hospital but died a short time later, police said.
Malinda Dunwoodie said she was near the ride when she saw the child “flying through the air”. She told Adelaide newspaper “The Advertiser”:
She was hanging by her legs off the ride, trying to block herself. She went flying through the air about 10 to 15 metres (33 – 49 feet) up in the air and I started sprinting towards her. I was shaking so much, she looked like a doll flying through the air. It was so shocking – it was like a horror movie. I didn’t see her land in the crowd but when I made it over to her I couldn’t see her eyes moving. Everyone was screaming.
The ride, about 15 metres long and 18 metres wide, resembles a giant spider and can carry up to 24 people:
SA Police Chief Inspector Dennis Lock held a press conference following the freak accident where he said:
Emergency services attended a show ride where a young girl had been thrown from that ride. A young 8 year old girl was taken to the women’s and children’s hospital where she later died. Our thoughts are definitely with the family at this time. We have a current investigation going on for the coroner. We’re working with Safework SA with support from the Royal Show Society. And I just want to also thank all those members of emergency services all those members of the public who actually came forward at the time and gave absolute support to try and save this young girl.
Royal Adelaide Show Society Chief Executive John Rothwell said the society would do everything in its power to assist the investigation.
“The society is extremely upset at the situation. We express our sincere condolences to the family. The ride, AirMaxx 360, is a new ride at the Royal Adelaide Show this year. All rides at the show must pass a national compliance audit,” he added.
Showgoers on Saturday laid stuffed teddy bear toys and flowers at a makeshift memorial in the showgrounds.
“It’s just complete sadness and it’s a tragedy that should have been avoided,” Katherina Ritson, one of the event’s staff who placed flowers, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Royal Adelaide Show attracts about half a million visitors every year and is South Australia’s largest event. It features amusement rides as well as farming exhibitions with live animals.South Australia’s work health and safety agency, SafeWork SA, said the ride – which was operating for the first time at the show – would be shut for the rest of the event as they investigate the incident with the police.
A spokesman for the High Commission of Malaysia told AFP they were working with the country’s Honorary Consul in South Australia to assist the family.