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Contradicting versions emerge in Ferris wheel mishap

The Star Online, 31 December 2013

GEORGE TOWN: Contradicting versions have emerged over the Ferris wheel mishap at the Penang Pesta fairground, where a six-year-old boy fell and slipped into a coma.

While the Euro Wheel operator insisted that Mohamad Khairul Naimme Abu Kassim had not fallen from the ride, his father claimed that the workers had allowed him in.

The operator, who wished to be known as Kher, said he had no idea how the boy had entered the ride area and from where he had fallen off.

“We will never allow a child to take the ride by himself. The minimum height is 1.2m and children must be accompanied by adults – with tickets,” he said at the site yesterday

No one, he said, could open the gondola’s door from the inside, adding that the boy would have died if he had fallen from the top as the wheel was 30m high.

Kher said during the 12.50am incident on Saturday, the workers had parked the gondolas back into position after ensuring that there were no more passengers.

“That was when they heard a loud thud and saw the boy below the platform where passengers hop onto the gondolas,” he said, adding that he had been operating the Euro Wheel for the past 20 years at Penang Pesta.

However, food trader Abu Kassim Yacob, 41, insisted that his son was on the Euro Wheel and had not sneaked in as he was well known by workers at the fair.

Meanwhile, Khairul Naimme’s mother, Saadiah Samsudin, 40, said her son had been looking forward to starting Year One on Thursday.

“He had been so excited to go to school as his sister is also studying in SK Kebun Sireh,” she said in between sobs.

A check at the Penang Hospital yesterday showed that the boy was in stable condition at the pediatric intensive care unit.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng said the police were still waiting for reports from the Pesta management, the operator, the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH) to help in the investigation.

The case, he added, was being probed under Section 338 of the Penal Code.

Penang DOSH director Mohd Anuar Embi said the operator had been issued with a notice for the ride to cease operating immediately.

The Penang Pesta ends today.

DOSH, he said, had also inspected all the rides before the Pesta started and found no problems with the Euro Wheel.

State Financial Officer Datuk Mokhtar Jait said both the father and the fun park operator Green City Amusement Fair Enterprise had lodged police reports.


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