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Close call: Amusement park ride started before child was secured

The director of PowerPark said the incident was regrettable and that more staff training is in the works.

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PowerPark's five-armed "octopus-like" ride called Piovra. Image: PowerPark

A nine-year-old boy found himself in a precarious situation at a western Finland amusement park over the weekend when the "octopus-like" ride he boarded started up before he was safely secured in his seat.

The incident took place on Saturday at PowerPark amusement centre in the Southern Ostrobothnian municipality of Kauhava, the park's director Mikko Kiviluoma confirmed in a press release issued Monday afternoon, adding that he regretted the incident.

He explained that the operator of the five-armed "octopus-like" ride called Piovra did not make sure all passengers aboard the ride were secured before he started it up. The purpose of the safety bar is to prevent occupants from standing up as well as provide passengers with something to hold onto as the ride spins around and into the air.

"Unfortunately, the person running the attraction made a human error," Kiviluoma said, adding "of course this should not happen."

The mother of the child told local newspaper Ilkka-Pohjalainen that the boy boarded the ride on his own without an adult, but said the ride started moving before his berth's safety bar was secured.

"My son screamed and cried," the boy's mother told the paper, adding that she wanted to speak publicly about the incident so that it doesn't happen again. She said it took some time before the operator of the ride shut it down.

Park CEO Kiviluoma said extra training sessions for staff were being organised which will go over the park's safety routines as well as how to deal with exceptional circumstances.

"The incident has been documented and the park's service personnel have checked to make sure that Piovra's safety bars are functioning properly," Kiviluoma said.

PowerPark as well as several other amusement centres opened late this year, due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

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