Princes Street BIG wheel shut down due to safety concerns

Princes Street BIG wheel shut down due to safety concerns

The big wheel in Princes Street was shut down for a week after it emerged it was inspected by the same man who gave the M&D’s crash rollercoaster the all-clear.

Council bosses ordered the wheel to be stopped after receiving a warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE told them the festival attraction was inspected by the same expert who cleared a rollercoaster at M&D’s theme park shortly before it came off the rails in a horrifying crash in June.

In its warning letter, the HSE raised “serious concerns” and told all fairground owners with safety certificates issued by inspector Craig Boswell to reexamine their rides.

The 44-metre Ferris wheel, situated in Princes Street Gardens, was closed last Wednesday and reopened late on Wednesday this week once fresh checks were carried out.

A spokeswoman for M&D’s Events, which operates the Edinburgh Festival Wheel, said:

“Following discussions with Edinburgh City Council, we took the decision to temporarily close the attraction to allow for an additional inspection, carried out by a certified independent expert.

“The Edinburgh Festival Wheel passed the inspection and reopened yesterday for visitors to enjoy.”

A spokeswoman for the city council confirmed that the ride was temporarily closed while “precautionary checks” were carried out.

Conservative city centre councillor Joanna Mowat described the situation as an “embarrassment”, particularly at the start of the Fringe when thousands of visitors flock to the city.

She added: “I don’t really know why we have a big wheel when there are so many vantage points across the city.

“Why would you pay for this when you can get better views for free from Calton Hill?
“It’s bad enough that we have this wheel in the first place but to not be able to use it for a week adds insult to injury. It is embarrassing, particularly at Festival time when thousands of people flock to the city.”

In a UK-wide alert released in the wake of the M&D’s crash, the HSE said there was “the potential for other rides examined by Mr Boswell to be unsafe”, adding that public confidence may have been “undermined”.

It also told those with rides inspected by Mr Boswell to make checks on “critical parts”, warning them to look out for corrosion and to ensure these parts do not “deteriorate between annual inspections to an extent which presents risk of failure”.

On June 26 five carriages on the Tsunami rollercoaster at the M&D’s theme park in Motherwell derailed at up to 40mph.

The wreckage crashed to the ground, leaving 10 people injured, with three children seriously injured.

The ride had been inspected by Glasgow-based Mr Boswell trading as Amusement Inspection Services (AIS), issuing a Declaration of Operational Compliance as recently June 10.

After the accident he removed himself from the Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme register.

And the HSE decided to also hand him a legal prohibition notice barring him from carrying out any other inspections until he can prove he is fit to do the work.

Big Wheel

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