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Teen girl left paralysed after gruesome go-kart accident

The 15-year-old was driving when her long hair became tangled in the engine.

WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: A 15-year girl has been left paralysed after a horrific go-karting accident.

Kristen Govender, from South Africa, had been driving the go-kart at the Action Karting centre in Durban's Gateway Mall on December 28 when her long hair became tangled in the engine.

She suffered spinal cord damage and bruising, and a torn aorta, as her scalp was ripped off in the shocking incident, local media report. Gruesome pictures show her dark hair wrapped around the engine just a few centimetres from the driver's seat.

Picture shows the go-kart race track at Action Karting in Durban, South Africa, file image. Source: Newsflash
Kristen Govender had been driving the go-kart at the Action Karting centre (pictured/stock) on December 28 when her long hair became tangled in the engine. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Her father, Vernon Govender, said Kristen had been wearing a crash helmet and had her hair in a ponytail when she was suddenly catapulted backwards.

"The doctors said they don't want to rush her to the surgery because she is young. They are taking measures to see how her body is reacting to the medication," he told local media.

"She has no mobility from her waist down, she can’t move or has any feeling in her legs. She has a blood clot in her spinal column as well and, according to doctors, it's too risky to operate.

"We just have to give her some time, with the medication and some sort of therapy we remain optimistic. My focus is for her to get better, walk out of the hospital and go back to school. There are a lot of answers I need but I will deal with things regarding the incident after my daughter is home with us."

Mr Govender said Kristen's an "A student" who "was really looking forward to entering the new year in school."

Dad claims go-kart was falling apart

A spokesman for the shopping centre said that because of the investigation, and out of respect for the family, they would not comment.

The dad said he had received one phone call from the go-kart track inquiring about his daughter's condition. "That was the day after the incident, in fact I had called the mall management and they said they were not even aware of the incident and he accused them of 'complete negligence'," he claimed.

Kristen's long, dark hair wrapped around the engine and blood on the go-kart.
Gruesome pictures show her long, dark hair wrapped around the engine just a few centimetres from the driver's seat. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Mr Govender told local media he had asked his daughter about what safety protocols were performed before she got behind the wheel. She reportedly told him she had been instructed to "put on a helmet and drive" after signing an "indemnity form".

"On the day of the incident, during the ride, my daughter said that a piece of the vehicle had come out when she went into the tunnel," the dad claimed.

"She said she asked an employee on the track about the piece and he just pulled the plastic piece off and told her to carry on. She asked him if he was sure it was all right to continue and he told her it was, he said just get on and drive."

Newsflash/Australscope

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