Fatal ride owner admits training error

·3-min read

The owner of a faulty amusement park ride that killed an eight-year-old girl in Adelaide claimed to have received training on the machine in Australia before it had actually arrived in the country.

C J And Sons Amusement director Jenny-Lee Sullivan has testified via video link on the second day of the inquest into the death of Adelene Leong, who was catapulted out of the AirMaxx 360 ride at the 2014 Royal Adelaide Show at 100km/h after slipping out of her safety harness.

Ms Sullivan had noted in the ride's safety logbook that she had undergone training in Australia on April 3, 2013.

Under questioning on Thursday, she conceded this was not possible as the ride had yet to be imported from Spain and was not assembled until May.

Ms Sullivan said she had been "shown how to do it" with the manufacturer in Spain in 2012 and that she must have undergone training in Australia at a later date.

The Adelaide Coroners Court also heard that an email was sent from an account used by both Ms Sullivan and her partner and co-director Clinton Watkins to the manufacturer in Spain regarding problems with the harness locking into place.

"We cannot get this ride operating like it should be, we are having lots of problems with the air (pressure vessels)," one email read.

Ms Sullivan says she did not receive training on how to maintain the ride, nor witness the training of the ride operator, ascribing responsibility for both to Mr Watkins.

Before the Royal Adelaide Show accident the ride was linked to 22 injuries at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2013.

That included a neck injury to a nine-year-old girl who required an ambulance.

Worksafe Victoria subsequently advised that the safe minimum height for patrons should be increased from 120cm to 130cm, but at following events the ride reverted to the old limit.

"I was under the (impression) that it should be just for the remainder of the (Royal Melbourne) show," Ms Sullivan said.

"It's a family ride, I wanted it to be fun for the whole family."

The manufacturer's recommended height minimum was 140cm, which Ms Sullivan conceded she was aware of at one point.

She earlier spoke on how certification for the machine was delayed because she was waiting on engineering consultant Brian Bradley, now deceased, who had been unable to certify pressure vessels essential to the safe function of the ride to Australian standards.

Ms Sullivan said she had lost patience and "did my own research", approaching an alternative option in Ian Anderson in late 2013.

"He told me (the pressure vessels) were fine," she said. "He put a sticker on it."

In a statement to the court, Mr Anderson denied he had certified the ride and claimed Ms Sullivan believed he was being "pedantic".

He said he told her he "couldn't certify the air vessels because there was a lack of documentation".

Ms Sullivan was also questioned on the Victorian address she used to undertake plant registration in Victoria, where rides can undergo an online assessment.

She was uncertain what address she used but suggested it was her sister's.

The court heard that Mr Bradley had sent Ms Sullivan an application to apply for design registration in NSW, where she had bought a home.

Counsel assisting the coroner Sally Giles asked why Mr Bradley had sent her NSW documentation when she had told the court that he had recommended she undertake plant certification in Victoria.

Ms Sullivan said she did not ask.

The inquest continues.