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Breeze v Cornwall Aircraft Park, Helston Limited T/A Flambards Theme Park, District Judge

5 February 2003
The issues

Leisure park – slide – Occupier’s Liability – Forseeability

The facts

Claimant visited Flambards with his 2 year old daughter and went on the Hyperglide, an undulating slide some 40ft high with his daughter. As he descended the slide holding his child between his legs and sitting on a mat as instructed, he hit his elbow on a bolt attached to a safety fence alongside the slide. Claimant alleged that the slide was excessively fast and was wet which increased the speed and that the bolt was protruding dangerously.

Defendant argued that the slide was not in itself dangerous relying on a history of no previous accidents since installation in 1986. The slide was inspected twice daily and also weekly by mechanical engineers. There were annual inspections by Consultants. There were approximately 500,000 users each year. Defendant further argued that Claimant ignored instructions to keep arms within the line of his body by holding on to handles on the mat. Although after the accident padding was added to the safety rail and hexagonal bolts were replaced with domed bolts, the Defendant argued that this was merely to perfect an already safe piece of equipment.

The decision

1. The slide was not wet in all probability. Neither had it been made excessively fast by being over siliconed.

2. There was no design defect in the slide. Judging by the safety record and absence of previous accidents the slide was reasonably safe. It was not reasonable to expect the Defendant to foresee an accident of the type that had occurred to the Claimant.

3. Instructions to keep hands on the mat were clear and must have been disregarded by the claimant.

4. The use of domed bolts after the accident, and the addition of padding, was not evidence that the slide was unsafe but had merely been the results of the Defendant’s prudence.

Claim dismissed.

For further information please contact mariemacfarlane@vpinsurance.net

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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