IMPORTANT Skegness figures have rallied behind the owner of Botton’s Pleasure Beach after a tragic accident marked its ‘blackest day’.
Calamity struck the popular Skegness funfair yesterday when 22 passengers were left dangling in a precarious semi-vertical position following a fault with the Surf Rider attraction.
Jimmy Botton has described the incident as ‘every park manager’s worst nightmare’ and expressed his ‘heartfelt thanks’ to all the emergency services who attended the site so quickly to help the injured.
All seven of those taken to hospital have now been discharged and none of the ‘life-threatening’ injuries mentioned in the national media proved to be as serious as feared.
The park, which has been open for 46 years, remained closed today while the Health and Safety Executive conducted its investigation.
Mr Botton has said that after the ride is made structurally safe it will be removed, never to return.
Tourist and business leaders have expressed their support for Mr Botton and their confidence that the incident will not mar the resort’s appeal as a tourist destination.
Chairman of Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce, Glenis Brown, said: “As far as I can recollect Botton’s has had an unblemished safety record and so I hope people will pay attention to that and not be put off.
“I was concerned for Jimmy Botton because I know he will be very upset about the incident.
“He is an important player in the town and he has been very generous with things like the Illuminations Switch On and other contributions.”
Chairman of Skegness East Coast and Wolds Hoteliers Association (SECHWA), Nigel Tett, has echoed Mrs Brown’s sentiments.
“Botton’s has been going for years and years and so I think this incident is a one off and hopefully our visitors will treat it as such,” he said.
“I will continue to recommend it as a visitor attraction to my guests.”
And Mayor of Skegness Coun Steve Kirk has also expressed his confidence in Mr Botton and the future of the resort.
“It was a tragic accident but as we now know, thankfully, no one sustained any serious life-threatening injuries.
“It’s worth mentioning that Jimmy Botton’s rides have been operating for many, many years and and he takes the health and safety of his visitors very seriously.
“I’m sure he will cooperate fully with the investigation and if there’s anything to be learned from this, I’m sure he will take it on board.”