A witness has spoken about the horrific fall from an amusement park ride in Cairns that left a woman badly injured.
The aftermath of the fall from the ride more than 30 metres up in the air was caught on video, with a shocked bystander shouting, “Oh my god, we need an ambulance!” after realising the 25-year-old woman had gotten stuck in a part of the ride’s machinery on Saturday afternoon.
Paramedics have said she sustained serious and traumatic injuries to the head and spine.
She was initially reported in critical condition but by Sunday afternoon her condition had stabilised as she was receiving specialist care at the intensive care unit at Cairns Hospital with her family present at the clinic.
“She is not in a life-threatening situation anymore, but she is still really unwell,” a Queensland Health spokesperson said.
Queensland Police’s Forensic Crash Unit were investigating the incident alongside Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, with the possibility of criminal charges being brought.
It is understood police and workplace safety engineers “froze” the situation at the Showfest site as they inspected the machinery and probed whether security procedures were in place and followed correctly.
A witness who spoke to Cairns Post said he heard a loud bang when the woman fell.
The man, who was also aboard the Hangover – a ride that rotates people a full 360-degrees on the end of a metal arm – said the machine kept going even as bystanders were realising something had gone terribly wrong.
“I could see everyone pointing and screaming and thought, OK the ride’s going to stop. But no, it just keeps on going,” the man said.
The man said it appeared the woman had slipped out and that her shirt had come off in the process.
“My missus and another guy were screaming at them to stop the ride, but it went for a full cycle while she was lying there.”
Video footage recorded shortly after the woman fell shows people rushing towards the Hangover ride, which continues to move with music playing and people still strapped on board.
Another man behind the camera can be heard saying, “Did you hear that?” and expressing concern the woman is dead.
Showfest took place from Thursday to Saturday in Cairns.
The advertised “greatest show on earth” features stunt shows, rides and slides and food.
The Showfest Cairns Facebook page and event page on Queensland’s tourism website had both been taken down as of Sunday morning, with parent company Showfest Australia’s Facebook page also deleted.
Event promoter Lance Collyer told Cairns Post organisers were assisting police, and said in a statement:
“The organisers would like to reach out to express their deep concern, and are hoping the lady’s recovery is paramount.”
Showfest made headlines earlier in October when 14 fourteen Victorian-based workers at the Mackay Showfest were kicked out of Queensland after entering the state with incorrect border passes.
Manager of Mackay’s Showfest, Lance Collyer, told the ABC at the time the workers were not part of the operation.
“They shouldn’t have been here. As soon as we found out they were on site, we had the police involved,” he said.
“It’s very frustrating because we have been working hard to bring this show here, we’ve all just got to do the right thing.
“Unfortunately some people aren’t willing to do the right thing, so we are having to make them do the right thing.”