A YOUNG mum believed she was “going to die” after a part of her seat on the towering 60-metre-high Star Flyer fell away and crashed to the ground below.
Darcy Gordon described the incident as “the most horrifying experience of my life.”
The 23-year-old Tesco worker was physically sick and left in a state of shock following the late-night city centre drama last Friday.
She was riding the carnival attraction with her friend, Chris Cardwell, when the plastic moulding from the back of their seat broke off and fell around 150ft on to the ride’s box office roof, before bouncing to the ground at 9.30pm.
Thousands of festive revellers were milling around St Andrew Square at the time but no-one was injured.
The attraction had been closed for maintenance earlier that day but had reopened to the public at around 5pm.
Darcy, who has a four-year old son, said: “We had just got to the top when I felt the back of the seat come away, the ride kept on going, though, and we were clinging to the ropes at the side.
“I didn’t want to lean back as I thought there was no back left. The whole thing lasted about two minutes but it felt a lot, lot longer.
“I was sure that I was going to die. I was waiting for us to fall or fly off into a building or something. My arms are still hurting me because I was gripping on so tight.”
Once returned safely to the ground Darcy and her friend were hurriedly ushered away from the ride by event staff.
She said: “None of the staff showed any concern towards us they just kept saying ‘keep walking’, I couldn’t move I was in so much shock, I was shaking and really could not move.
“It was the scariest experience of my life but they were more concerned about getting me away. It’s disgusting how they have treated us, they never once asked how we were.”
Darcy and her friend, who had travelled through from Motherwell for the day to enjoy the festivities, decided upon taking a spin on the attraction after they spotted it while riding the Big Wheel in Princes Street Gardens.
Within seconds of being strapped in, though, Chris became aware of the loose seatback and urged Darcy not to “move about so much.”
She added: “I asked him why and he said he’d tell me after the ride, he didn’t want to worry me as he knew I’d freak out. Seconds later it had fallen off.”
Darcy’s nerves weren’t the only things left shattered by the experience – the screen of her phone which she had in her trouser pocket was smashed as she clung on.
Contrite ride bosses have since agreed to both refund her money and repair her phone.
Murray Petit, 21, from Fairmilehead, who was in line to get on the ride after Darcy’s turn, snapped a picture of the damaged red seatback in the minutes after it came crashing to the ground.
He said: “We heard a bang but had no idea what it was. My friend and I then went to go and sit in the seats when we were told to get off.
“A guy in the crowd then told us that a seat had fallen off. It all happened so fat that it was only later we thought about what could have happened. Someone could easily have been killed.”
Asked whether he’d ever consider going back on the ride, he said: “Not immediately, I’d give it a few days. I’d like to be sure that there’s been a few safety checks carried out first.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh’s Christmas said: “Detailed safety inspections were carried out on Saturday following the incident and the ride has been inspected to the satisfaction of an independent safety inspector and expert in amusement rides.
“The incident is completely unrelated to the maintenance which was carried out on the ride earlier in the day on Friday December 13 and which was part of the routine maintenance to the ride.”
Revellers give it a spin again
EDINBURGH Christmas organisers decided to reopen the ride at 5pm yesterday following a comprehensive set of safety checks.
Within minutes there were people braving the rain to take a spin.
Friends Lisa Moffat, from Armadale, and Laura Cook, from Livingston, both happily climbed aboard.
Lisa said: “We had heard about what happened but I’m sure they wouldn’t open it if it wasn’t safe. It was a bit wet and windy but good fun.”
Laura wasn’t so sure, though, and said: “I was a wee bit wary of going on it but it was worth it.”
Another ride passenger was Sam Thomas, 23, from Grangemouth, who informed the person beside him of Friday’s drama.
He said: “The guy hadn’t heard anything about it. He was a bit panicked when I told him but it was too late by then.”
But Gavin Dwane, 29, from Portobello said: “Maybe in a few days time I might reconsider but there’s no chance at the moment.”