- Drayton Manor has reopened four days after the death of Evha Janneth, 11
- She drowned after she was swept under the water in the Splash Canyon ride
- Drayton Manor kept the ride shut today along with six others that overlook the spot where the tragedy happened
- The park also charged a lower on the day rate as the rides were closed today
Evha Janneth, 11, who died at the Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire on May 9 after being carried into the water on Splash Canyon
Thrill seekers flocked back to a re-opened theme park on Saturday vowing ‘to have fun’ just four days after a school girl’s tragic death after she tumbled off a water ride.
Thousands of grandparents, mums, dads, young kids and teenagers visited Drayton Manor which had claimed the life of 11-year-old Evha Jannath.
Splash Canyon, where the 11-year-old girl lost her life, remained shut, and an additional six rides were also closed because they overlook the tragic spot.
The six rides include Shockwave, G-Force, Air Race, Chairlift, Stormforce 10, and Pandemonium though the latter two were already closed for maintenance.
The park slashed the usual ticket price for those arriving on the day from £39 to £25, they say to reflect the number of rides closed.
On a gloomy Saturday shrieks of joy and laughter filled the park once again. Many families and friends were celebrating birthdays. They had bought pre-booked tickets and were delighted the venue had decided to re-open its doors.
Among park-goers at the family-run attraction in Tamworth, Staffordshire, was art teacher Rosie Cameron from Bristol. She had taken son Joby along with six others as as eighth birthday treat.
Rosie, echoing the sentiments of fellow fun lovers, said: ‘What happened was an awful thing but it hasn’t put us off. People die on the roads every day. We’re having a great time.’
The theme park has reopened today, but as a mark of respect, Splash Canyon remains shut, as do rides that overlook it
The park is offering a discounted on the day price to families attending today to reflect the shut rides
In a statement on the website last night, a spokesman for the Tamworth park wrote: ‘The terrible incident on Tuesday has left a family grieving and we continue to offer our deepest thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Evha Jannath.
‘Whilst the HSE and police authority carry on with their important work, we will reopen Drayton Manor Park on Saturday 13th May. We continue to offer support to all those affected, including colleagues, and will provide all necessary assistance to the relevant authorities.
‘The Splash Canyon water ride will not be reopened at this time.
‘As a mark of respect to the family and friends of Evha Jannath the rides that overlook Splash Canyon will be closed.
‘Furthermore, to reflect the reduction in available rides the price on the gate tomorrow will be £25. The on-the-day price is normally £39.’
Numbers appeared greatly reduced compared with a usual weekend after the tragic death of Evha Janneth in the morning, but more people arrived thorugh the afternoon
A few bouquets of flowers from well wishers rested against the barrier. A tribute on one simply read: “Our thoughts are with your family at this time from Derby City Foster Carers Association
Bunches of flowers were left near the Drayton Manor ride as families and groups of friends returned to the theme park on the first day it reopened
A security guard offers guidance on the open and closed rides as the theme park welcomed a few thousand visitors today
Some grumbled at the ride closures, but most shook their shoulders saying excitedly: ‘There’s still plenty to do. We’re going to have fun!’
University student Jamie Smythson, 19, moaned: ‘All the best rides are closed which is a shame. We had no idea so many were shut so we may have given it a miss.’
Jamie from Coventry, West Midlands, added: ‘But on the plus side the entrance fee has been cut and it’s more fun than studying! We’re not being ghoulish coming to a place so soon after a girl has been killed.
‘I’d been planning it for weeks with my mates at the end of exams.’
Birthday girl Aneesa Yousaf, who turns 23 on Sunday said: ‘We love coming to this park and nothing will stop us. What happened is very upsetting but it’s right they opened up again for the weekend crowds but a pity all the top rides are closed. We’d hoped the roller coasters would be working.’
The park explained in a statement that the incident is still being investigated and they have offered support to those who need it
Families queued to get into the park this morning, when it opened at 10.30 with a reduced price
Aneesa from Bradford, West Yorkshire, told how she, younger sister Mariam, 22, and six pals were back for their fifth visit for her birthday.
She said: ‘We come every year and we’ve all been on Splash Canyon. It’s wicked!
‘The girl dying was horrible and very upsetting but it’s not the park’s fault. It seems she stood up to swap seats but lost balance and fell in. It’s not like the ride malfunctioned. It couldn’t be predicted.’
Sister Mariam recalled: ‘We’ve all been in that ride before and just like the schoolgirl have stood up and swapped seats.
‘It’s all a bit of a laugh and there’s no belts or straps to stop you.
‘The ride is a bit choppy in parts and bumps you around but that’s all the fun!’
Evha died on the rapids ride after she was jolted from a six-person dinghy as she stood up to swap seats.
The youngster from Leicester fell into the water while riding with classmates on the spinning boats during a school trip. It is believed she struck her head on rocks and was knocked unconscious.
As the park headed towards Saturday lunchtime, picnic benches were nearly completely empty
The popular family day out was eerily quiet on Saturday morning with queue waiting times almost non-existent and the car park half empty
A spokesperson for Drayton Manor – which attracts average 5,OOO crowds on weekend days – said: ‘What happened was extremely sad and our hearts go out to Evha’s family.
‘But we have had some very positive and encouraging feedback from park visitors.
‘They have been pretty understanding about the ride closures and our reduced price entrance fee to reflect this helps compensate.’
She added: ‘After such a terrible tragedy it is welcoming to see smiling faces and hear the sound of laughter here again.’
She stressed: ‘We never give exact attendance figures but the park seems about as busy as it always is on a spring Saturday. It is certainly not quiet as some websites are reporting. It is the normal range of visitors expected.’
Watford-born Evha, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was airlifted to Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital but was pronounced dead soon afterwards. She was a pupil at the private Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester. She had celebrated her birthday just four days before she died.
Her heartbroken mum Musammath Nurun Nahar, 43, and her dad Muhammed Suable Islam, 46, who is separated from his wife paid tribute to their ‘beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling.’ They said their world – and elder son Azim, 19, a university student – had been ‘torn apart.’
The family has requested that the river rapids ride remain closed until the inquiry has concluded and the full facts established.
The rides that have been closed overlook Splash Canyon and are shut as a mark of respect
On Facebook, parents were largely supportive of the park, saying the blame could not lie with staff.
Rebecca Williams wrote: ‘We have never felt anything but safe at Drayton Manor. I don’t think any blame can lie with your park or staff. It’s a terrible accident. The only death in almost 60 years.’
Richard John posted: ‘When this park reopens however we (the people of Tamworth) need to go and support the Bryan family. Take our families and go for the day. This park has supported Tamworth with employment and charity since it opened.
‘It is a part of our community. It is family run and it’s a big part of our community. They are going to need us this summer.’
Jonathan Hughes, vice-chair of the Staffordshire Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said the HSE will be talking to staff, contractors and manufacturers of the ride to see how it operated.
‘In addition, they will be looking at the history of the ride – its maintenance records, inspections, tests and details of any works carried out on the ride,’ he said.
Three water rides operated by Merlin Entertainments sites, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Legoland Windsor, were closed as a precautionary measure in the wake of the incident but reopened on Friday.
An inquest into the death is expected to open next week.
The force said it anticipated that a post-mortem examination will take place on Monday.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online