Calls for National Ride Database Grow After 8-Year-Old Adelene Leong’s Death at the Royal Adelaide Show

Sarah Scholten remembers the moment when her thrilling amusement ride turned into a nightmare.

“I remember it all…while it freaked out, I thought ‘this is going really slow, it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do’ and then the music stopped, it got quiet, and then [I heard] just scream and we fell,” said Mrs Scholten.

The Spin Dragon ride at the Royal Adelaide Show malfunctioned, causing the rotating mechanical arm to fall to the ground.

People waiting in line below were crushed and 37 people injured.

“We yelled ‘let us out, let us out’ and I felt like it took forever for someone to snap on every harness before we could jump over the people who were yelling,” she said.

“That never let go of me.”

A constant physical reminder of the accident in 2000 is back pain that she attributes to the fractured coccyx she suffered in the accident.

Thirty-seven people were injured in the Spin Dragon accident, three of whom were seriously injured.ABC news

Despite the significant incident, there was no national database of show rides.

The call for a medical check-up has come this week from South Australia’s Deputy Coroner Ian White as part of his findings on the death of 8-year-old Adelene Leong, who was thrown from the Airmaxx 360 ride at the Royal Adelaide Show. in 2014.

There were 22 reports of minor injuries during the Royal Melbourne Show and WorkSafe Victoria raised the minimum height restriction for passengers to 130 centimeters before the ride arrived in Adelaide.

Adelene Leong died while riding the Royal Show
Adelene Leong died after being thrown from a ride at the 2014 Royal Adelaide Show.Provided by SA Police

Ms Scholten supported the call for a national database, saying Adelene’s death was tragic and the way the industry was run needed to change.

“Why were there no regulations? That should have come after our ride. That’s really shocking,” she said.

“You’re in control of children’s lives. If the government doesn’t do anything, it’s their fault.’

The mother of two took her two young sons to the Royal Adelaide Show but said it was difficult.

“I don’t want my fears and my post-traumatic stress disorder to ruin their lives, but I don’t want them [a ride] that’s not safe for them,” she said.

“They haven’t had any exciting rides…I need to be able to see that nothing goes wrong, but how can you trust them [the rides] with your children’s lives?”

Four men crawl in the back of a broken fairground attraction with different harnesses open
Investigators determined that the accident was caused by bolts holding the Spin Dragon’s mechanical arm, which shook off.ABC news

‘Really hard to read’

Agricultural Shows Australia represents 580 agricultural shows across Australia.

Executive Officer Katie Stanley said the organization was “extremely supportive” of a national database.

She hoped all the deputy coroner’s recommendations would be implemented.

“What we have to keep in mind is that there are shows that are not ag shows with attractions,” she said.

“We would like to work with the government to see what can be done to ensure this never happens again and that we have the correct information and can share it with all our members”

Airmaxx 360 ride on the Brisbane Ekka.
The Airmaxx 360 ride has since been sold to an operator in the United Kingdom.ABC News: Giulio Saggin

Royal Adelaide Show General Manager Michelle Hocking agreed.

“I think that would go a long way because if there are any issues with rides they should be in that national database and we would know,” said Ms Hocking.

She said a database would also help smaller event organizers, such as school fairs, select safe rides.

“If there was that database you could go to and check or if the regulator could check if there were any issues, you just wouldn’t have them,” she said.

Ms Hocking described the report as “very difficult to read”.

She said the deputy coroner’s report indicated that the ride’s operators were under financial stress and “turned a lot of corners” as a result.

Ms Hocking said, while “90 percent of the auto industry are good, hard-working people,” there were some who did the wrong thing.

“We can keep doing everything we do and constantly refine and revise what we do, but if someone wants to do something illegal it’s very hard to pick up on that and that’s exactly what happened in this case,” she said. .

John Rothwell, CEO of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA, said changes had already been made since Adelene’s death, but organizers would review any other recommendations made yesterday by the deputy coroner.

A spokesperson for Safe Work Australia said it is considering the recommendations.

The spokesperson said a 2018 revision of occupational health and safety laws led to “new requirements for better administration and training of amusement equipment operators”.

“It is now up to each jurisdiction to incorporate the changes into their WHS laws,” the spokesperson said.

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