A seaside trampoline which was inspected just days before it exploded killed a 3-year-old girl. Ava-May Littleboy from Lower Somersham in Suffolk was playing on the inflatable beach attraction at Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk.
The little girl flew into the air when the trampoline burst and later she died in hospital of a head injury. At her inquest, Norfolk’s senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake, revealed that equipment inspector Henry Rundle visited Bounce About, where the inflatable had been placed, on June 26, 2018 – just days before the unfortunate accident on July 1.
His report found that “not all available tie-downs were in use, beds were found to be firm” and all new devices “manufacturer’s information must be supplied as required.”
Giselle Johnson, Bounce About’s director, said she was at the site when it was carried out and that Mr. Rundle had examined a Minions-themed bouncy castle, an inflatable slide and the inflatable trampoline.
“He examined the trampoline,” she said. “He looked around it, he jumped on top of it, he took his shoes off first, he jumped on top, got off, came in my direction, he shook my hand.
“I asked him if everything was fine, he said everything was fine so I said ‘you can send me the invoice later and then we can sort out the documents. It’s almost like a lid, like closing a bottle.”
She was asked by the coroner: “When inflating the trampoline, how do you know when the trampoline is fully inflated?”, but refused to answer.
Mrs. Johnson said that she had been working at the park for 10 years and that her husband Curt Johnson “looked after the paperwork side of things” while she “looked after the park itself, how the toys are set up, who’s going to work with me.”
She claimed that equipment was checked every 15 minutes while in use. She had also said that scientific analysis of the remains of the trampoline was “capable of confirming that the trampoline did explode but not why it exploded.”
The coroner said: “Further scientific investigation of the remains of the trampoline could have been commissioned but that would have involved a delay, would have carried a high cost and most pertinently of all might well still not have provided why this particular trampoline exploded in the way it did, on the day it did in the circumstances it did,”
“That’s why I decided on balance this line of inquiry shouldn’t be pursued further.”
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