An 11-year-old girl died at Drayton Manor Theme Park, which opened in 1949 as a family business, during a school trip Tuesday afternoon after witnesses say she fell from the popular Splash Canyon ride and was dragged under water by the currents, the Guardian reports.
Evha Jannath, a student at the Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester, was reportedly sitting in a raft with three other students while a teacher followed behind in another raft on May 8. It is believed that Evha stood up in a bid to switch seats with someone else when the raft hit a rock, prompting the girl to fall from the Splash Canyon ride, but it has not been confirmed.
An investigation is underway to determine how the girl fell from the Splash Canyon ride. However, Staffordshire police officials say it is a possibility that Evha hit her head before falling from the ride.
Witnesses say after the girl fell from the Drayton Manor ride, she was dragged under water, which is said to be about five feet deep. Afterward, the people on the Splash Canyon ride began screaming in an attempt to alert Drayton Manor Theme Park staff that a girl had fallen off.
Emergency medical services began administering “advanced life support” while the Jameah Girls Academy student was being airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but attempts to save the girls’ life was unsuccessful. Evha died shortly after arriving at the hospital from injuries sustained during her fall from the Drayton Manor Splash Canyon ride.
According to Drayton Manor Theme Park’s website, the Splash Canyon is the park’s “very own river rapids.” It “swerves around corners, splashes through the waves, and get soaked as your boat is swept along our fast-flowing rapids. No two experiences are ever the same, so grab your friends and family, climb on board one of our circular boats, and get ready for a wild ride through the water.”
“You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the jungle as you speed, bounce, and splash your way around our river, past other rides and through the trees, experiencing the most unpredictable and thrilling of river rapid rides.”
The girls’ family, as well as students at the Jameah Girls Academy and park-goers, were devastated after learning of the Drayton Manor accident.
In a statement, Evha’s family said: “Yesterday our world was torn apart by the news that our daughter and sister Evha, had lost her life in tragic circumstances, following a school trip to Drayton Manor Park.”
“Evha was a beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling. Words cannot describe the pain and loss we feel, we are devastated that we will not see our beautiful little girl again. We ask that you allow us to grieve in private and deal with our loss as a family.”
An unidentified father of a girl who attends Jameah Girls Academy stated that his daughter was on the school trip with Evha, but she was on another ride when the Drayton Manor accident took place. He added that his daughter is “distraught” over her classmate’s death.
The day after the Drayton Manor death, Staffordshire Police officials released the following the statement: “A Health and Safety Executive investigation has now begun with the full support of Staffordshire Police. The family is being supported by specially trained officers. We would ask everyone to respect the family’s right to grieve in private during this extremely difficult time.”
After the reported death at Drayton Manor Park, the Splash Canyon ride was shut down. Out of respect for the girl’s family, the Drayton Manor Theme Park was closed all day on Wednesday.
It is unclear when the park will reopen.
[Featured Image by Staffordshire Police/Facebook]