Death of boy, 6, flung from Rye carnival ride was preventable: coroner

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

A coroner has called for sweeping changes to amusement park regulations after finding the restraints on a carnival ride that allowed a six-year-old boy to be flung from his seat and killed did not meet Australian standards.

Eugene Mahauariki was seated next to a smaller child of the same age on the Cha Cha at the Rye carnival on the Easter long weekend in 2017 when he slipped from the carriage.

Eugene Mahauariki, 6, died after falling from the Cha Cha ride at the 2017 Rye Easter Carnival. Credit: Facebook 

On Friday, Coroner Sarah Gebert ruled Eugene’s death was preventable after finding the U-shaped rods and bars that were supposed to hold riders in place were non-compliant.

“It’s clear that Eugene’s death was preventable,” she said.

An 11-day inquest last year heard Eugene had been at the popular Rye foreshore carnival on April 17, where his parents worked in the ticket box and as ride operators.

Rules meant children were required to be at least 130 centimetres tall to ride unaccompanied. If they were between 120 and 130 centimetres tall, they were meant to ride with an adult.

An aerial view of the ride at the Rye Carnival.Credit: Seven News

While Eugene was 132 centimetres tall, the six-year-old girl he was placed next to was not. As the ride started, the pair began been pushing into each other and Eugene slipped out.

As well ruling on the non-compliant restraints, the coroner found the man left operating the ride on the day was insufficiently supervised, with questions arising about whether he had been trained.

Gebert said the public held an expectation that rides such as the Cha Cha were safe for their children.

“Despite Eugene’s best efforts to hold on in any way he could, and the efforts of his companion rider, he slipped out from underneath the lap bar, resulting in him being ejected from the carriage. The loss to his family has been immeasurable and devastating,” she said.

Eguene’s parents Stacey Mahauariki and Tammy White outside court. Credit: AAP

“Industry standards have now changed in Victoria and the restraint system on the Cha Cha at the time of Eugene’s accident would no longer be considered to meet industry standard.

“[At the time] the older an amusement ride was, the less stringent the regulatory regime.”

Outside court, Eugene’s mother Tammy White cried as she remembered her “cheeky and outgoing” youngest son.

“He was the baby of our family, he was so loved,” she said. “I fought for an inquest because I knew that Eugene’s death was preventable, and today the coroner agreed with me.

“The coroner has recommended change for the entire amusement industry… I hope they all take it on, so this doesn’t happen to another family.”

Police inspect the scene where Eugene Mahauariki, 6, died after falling from the Cha Cha ride at the 2017 Rye Easter carnival.Credit: Nine News

The Cha Cha ride, which Eugene had ridden many times before, had been built in 1961 and owned by Wittingslow Amusements since 1998.

Among a raft of changes, the coroner recommended that the design of all Victorian amusement rides be registered and that WorkSafe be permitted to refuse any they deem may pose a risk.

Gerbert also recommended that WorkSafe be given powers to cancel the registration of current designs they believe are unsafe.

With AAP

Our Breaking News Alert will notify you of significant breaking news when it happens. Get it here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article