Two toddlers break bones on Ocean Park snow-slide

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2001, 12:00am

Two accidents on Ocean Park's newly opened artificial snow-slide at the weekend left two toddlers with broken bones, it emerged yesterday.

The separate incidents happened on Sunday when the children, aged two and three, were sledging on the Winter Sled and Slide, the park's Christmas attraction. Both were taken to Tang Siu Kin Hospital with fractured legs and discharged after treatment.

Ocean Park spokeswoman Vivian Lee yesterday insisted that the slide, which opened on December 6, met safety standards and that the two incidents were isolated. 'Nothing will have to be changed, but we will monitor more closely the slide's operation,' she said.

The events came to light after the mother of the three-year-old girl voiced complaints on Commercial Radio's phone-in programme Teacup In A Storm yesterday morning.

May Chan Sin said her daughter, Sin Ho-yee, was now bed-ridden with a fractured ankle and would need eight weeks to recover fully.

Mrs Sin said Ho-yee, who was accompanied by her teenage cousin, was injured on her third ride on the 46-metre-long, artificial grass slide.

'She kept crying at the finishing point and I didn't know what had happened as she didn't have any external injuries. It wasn't until she was taken to hospital for a check-up that I realised how serious things were,' she said.

'She has had a few nightmares. I wouldn't have let her do it had I known the consequences,' the mother-of-two said.

Ms Lee said the other accident, involving a two-year-old boy, happened before Ho-yee's. She said he suffered a bone fracture in his right lower leg.

The sledges on the attraction can reach 20km/h during the ride, which costs $10 a go and is designed for anyone over the age of three.

Ms Lee said that before the ride the park's employees asked the family how old the toddler was as a precaution.

'Young children do not have an identity card for us to check their ages and we can't ask parents for a birth certificate,' she said.

Ms Lee said the cause of the accidents was not known but that the park had launched an investigation.

'The slide was imported from Finland and was up to safety standards. It has seen about 20,000 rides since the opening and no [other] problems have occurred,' she said, adding that arrangements for insurance compensation for the two victims were under way.

Ms Lee said that before each ride, customers were reminded by staff to hold on to the sides of the sledges and to stretch their legs out straight. Mrs Sin said video footage she recorded of Ho-yee showed her child had followed the safety procedure.