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Friend describes teen fairground ride horror
A teenager plunged 15ft after slipping out of a moving fairground ride.
Horrified witnesses feared 18-year-old Brighton and Hove City College student Beth Thorpe had died after seeing her “flung like a rag doll” from the Rocker ride on Thursday evening.
The incident at about 9.30pm was filmed by onlookers at the temporary fair on Worthing seafront and police officers are examining the footage.
Yesterday Beth was recovering at her home in Richmond Court, Worthing after being discharged from the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton where she was taken with suspected head and ankle injuries.
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Her mother Marilyn Vaughan told The Argus she initially feared her daughter was dead when Sussex Police broke the news.
She said: “It was awful when the police told us what happened.
“She can't remember anything and is very shaken up.”
Her aunt Anne Pilbean added: “It was an absolute nightmare.”
Faith Paine, 18, who attended Chatsmore High School in Worthing with Beth, was on the same ride when the incident happened.
Faith, from Worthing, who works at Southern Water in Brighton, said: “Seconds after the ride started she was flung about like a rag doll and started foaming at the mouth, immediately I knew something was wrong.
“She then started to come up out of her seat as her body turned to jelly and just slipped out.
“I was trying to scream stop and help but it was too late.
“She came straight out the seat as the ride 'Rocker' went up and then plummeted downwards and she landed on her head and back, hitting her ankle on the way.
“It was without a doubt the most horrific thing I have ever seen in my life and I am shocked she's even alive.
“It will stay with me forever.”
Faith called the ambulance and put her hand behind Beth's head - which covered her in blood.
Sarah Felton added: “Her ankle was broken as bone was popping out but she also hit her head pretty hard so was bleeding.
“My partner ran over to make sure she was breathing and he ended up saving her life.”
Katie Rose Hockley added: “I was on the ride when it happened I heard a big bang and I looked over and a woman was on the floor, she had dropped from the highest point and banged her head and ankle on the metal.
“We all got taken off the ride immediately. Never going on a fair ride again.”
John Mitchell, director for communities at Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council, said: “Following an accident on a fairground ride at Worthing seafront our thoughts are with the woman injured in the accident and her family.
“We wish her a full and speedy recovery. We are grateful to the emergency services who attended the scene promptly.
“The fairground ride operators and Worthing Borough Council will fully cooperate with the Health and Safety Executive and relevant authorities into the investigation that will take place.
“In the meantime, the ride will remain closed until HSE clearance is received to re-open the ride. At the current time we are unable to confirm when the investigation will be completed.”
A Sussex Police statement said officers cordoned off the scene after the accident.
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