Royal Adelaide Show officials approved ride that killed Adelene Leong despite operators never returning safety checklist


A ride that caused the death of a young girl at the Royal Adelaide Show should not have been cleared to run because its operators had not returned a final safety checklist, a coronial inquest has heard.

Eight-year-old Adelene Leong died in hospital after she was thrown from the Airmaxx 360 ride at the Royal Adelaide Show in September 2014.

South Australia’s Deputy State Coroner Ian White is currently hearing an inquest into Adelene’s death.

The inquest was told on Friday that the operators of the ride were required to return a safety checklist created by the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, which runs the Royal Adelaide Show.

The inquest heard the checklist, which was intended to confirm that an engineer or so-called “competent person” had inspected the ride, was never returned.

Judith Noble, project manager for the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, told the court she only became aware after the incident that the checklist had never been returned by the Airmaxx 360 operators.

Ms Noble told the court it was one of several documents required to be returned by all operators.

She said she could not recall if there were any other ride managers that also did not return the checklist.

She agreed with a proposition by the coroner that the Airmaxx 360 should not have been cleared to operate by the society without the checklist.

There were several complaints made about the Airmaxx 360 before it went to Adelaide.(ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

Harness and seatbelt checked twice

The court also heard evidence from Amanda Minniken, 36, who said it was her job to “lock and load” customers as the only official deck attendant on the ride that day.

Ms Minniken told the court she checked Adelene’s harness and seatbelt at least twice before the ride began.

“I recall checking her two, maybe three times, I recall twice asking her to go all the way back [on her seat], I realised she didn’t speak English,” she said.

“I tried to explain slowly, she didn’t quite understand … I pushed the harness down, locked it in.”

Ms Minniken told the court a mother on the ride, two seats away from Adelene, was yelling at her at the time.

She said after that she gave the ride operator a ‘thumbs up’.

Ms Minniken told the court she only realised something went wrong when the ride came to a very quick stop.

The inquest has previously heard that the Airmaxx 360 ride had been plagued by complaints before coming to the Royal Adelaide Show with 22 injury reports made in three days at the Royal Melbourne Show.

It heard the ride had some design and condition flaws that should have been identified and that it was operating at a height limit of 120 centimetres which was 20 centimetres less than what was suggested by the ride manufacturers.

The inquest continues.

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