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Child taken to hospital after popular miniature train at The Strand, Gillingham, came off its rails leaving six people injured

Parents have described the moment a popular miniature train derailed and crashed to the ground, knocking a child unconscious and injuring several others.

Ambulance crews were called out to The Strand in Gillingham just before 2pm on Monday, to reports a five-year-old girl had been injured when a train veered off the tracks.

The incident was caused by a boy on board who grabbed onto the railings outside of the train and pulled it off balance while going round a bend.

The miniature train on Monday, just before it derailed
The miniature train on Monday, just before it derailed

When medics arrived they found another five people, including more children, also needed medical attention. The little girl was brought around at the scene, and discharged from hospital later that day.

One family made a trip down to the park from Larkfield and from Surrey so the children could go in the pool and on the train.

Linda Boniface, 47, was watching from afar while her daughter, 28, and grandchildren, six and three, had a ride on the train. Her son Riley, seven, was also on the train with them.

“There were some bigger children on the back carriage. One, about eight or nine, had been rocking it during the journey and the driver had already told them off. The he leaned out of the carriage and grabbed the railings, toppling it over.

Riley, seven, was dragged along the gravel
Riley, seven, was dragged along the gravel

“The driver didn’t notice and the children in the back carriage were dragged along the floor, then the carriage next to it fell. The driver heard people shouting and turned, just as his fell over."

Riley had been dragged for a couple of metres over gravel and concrete and was left with scrapes, cuts and bruises all over this torso, face and arms. His mum said he had been having nightmares over it.

Mrs Boniface added: "I would not allow my son to go back on that ride until there are more safety measures. It’s not the drivers fault, he can’t be looking backwards the whole time. It just should not be so easy to topple over, the railings not so easy to reach, and there ought to be a staff member sat on the back to make sure the children are behaving."

The train has been running since 1948 and there have been no serious incidents on there in at least the past 10 years.

Summer Opening of the Strand Leisure Park in May 2005
Summer Opening of the Strand Leisure Park in May 2005

Matt Wheeler was also on the train with his son Devon, five, and it was his friend who was knocked unconscious and had to be taken to hospital.

Mr Wheeler said: “I was quite angry at the time, but obviously it wasn’t the manager’s fault, the kids messing about were to blame. But these things happen, they’ve done their risk assessments and I think if they get some new carriages in which are less likely to tip over, I wouldn’t have a problem going back on there.

Devon had some scrapes to his arm and bruising on his legs.

“He was a bit upset, but little boys bounce back quickly.”

Riley, seven, was dragged along the gravel
Riley, seven, was dragged along the gravel

A Medway Council spokesperson said: "One child was taken to hospital with bruising. We have spoken to her parents and we're pleased to say that she has now been discharged and is back home after a check-up.

"We're sorry to those who were on-board at the time of this accident. Our ride is particularly popular at this time of year and is enjoyed safely by thousands of people and we look forward to welcoming many more during the summer months."

A spokesman for SECAmb said: "Most of the injuries were cuts and bruises to peoples arms and legs and they were treated at the scene.

"There were a couple of people who had head injuries and one child was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital."

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