Trampoline Bosses Face Jail After 11 People Broke Their Backs At Their Park



Two former bosses of a trampoline park where 11 people broke their backs – including three in a single day – are facing jail.

Scores of visitors at Flip Out Chester were being “injured on a daily basis”, with three people sustaining spine fractures while jumping off a 13ft high tower into a foam-filled pit on the same day in 2017. Injuries at the park happened so often that NHS chiefs demanded a meeting with park bosses to discuss safety fears, after specialist surgeons were put under ‘unnecessary pressure’ due to all the victims.

Former directors David Shuttleworth and Matthew Melling, both 33, pleaded guilty to health and safety offences and now face two years in jail each. The charges were based on 270 incidents (!) over a seven-week period from December 2016 to February 2017

The council’s cabinet member for homes, planning and safer communities, Christine Warner, said ‘Injuries in this case included 11 fractured spines, as well as other serious injuries. Those injured on a daily basis included both adults and children.’

Here’s one victim, nurse Liza Jones, being treated by paramedics in the foam pit after breaking her back while plunging off the 13ft tall Tower Jump:

Liza Jones who suffered a back fracture and burst vertebrae after landing in a foam pit at a trampoline park. Liza Jones, 26, of Wrexham , said she was scared of her future following the incident which happened at Flip Out in Chester. Liza was on the 'tower jump', a 4m high platform with a foam pit underneath - on landing in the pit at the bottom of the jump she said she felt a searing pain in her back and she was rushed to hospital. Medics diagnosed a back fracture and burst vertebrae and she underwent surgery at Liverpool's Walton Centre to have metal plates and screws inserted in her back. Pictured here is Liza being treated by paramedics in the foam pit at Flip Out ? WALES NEWS SERVICE

Liza told Metro: ‘It was really scary, it was the most pain I’ve suffered in my life. [Hospital doctors] said I had an unstable fracture and one of my vertebrae had burst, which meant I had fragments of bone sticking out that could have paralysed me. I didn’t know how serious it was until then and I was very scared of the operation and of my future.’

Another victim, Lucy Jones, told how she ‘screamed in agony’ after leaping off the Tower Jump: ‘I landed in a seating position, as we’d been told to do. But when I landed, I felt the worst pain I have ever been through in my whole life. For a while, I couldn’t breathe or feel anything.’

Lucy needed a five-hour operation to insert metal rods into her back after the incident:

A dental nurse says she experienced the 'worst pain' of her life after she broke her back at a trampoline park. Lucy Jones, 19, joined three friends for the post-Christmas get together at Flip Out Chester, which describes itself as 'the world's biggest and best trampoline theme park', last January. Ms Jones, of Northop, Flintshire, North Wales, who now plans to sue the park for negligence and breach of statutory duty, claims she was injured jumping from the four-metre Tower Jump into a foam pit. Three other people also claim to have broken their backs on the jump

It’s not just spine injuries though. Another victim, Michelle Conway, was left needing stitches after her top lip was ripped away from her nose in the free-running zone at the same park.

A mum was badly injured when she bounced face first into a wall at the 'world's biggest trampoline park'. Michelle Conway needed stitches after her top lip was ripped away from her nose in the accident at Flip Out in Chester, Cheshire. The 40 year old mum of four from Wrexham, North Wales is likely to be left with permanent scarring and she is warning other people of the dangers of trampolining. The trampoline park only opened last month and Michelle and her family had been excited about their first visit. But the fun turned into a nightmare when Michelle ventured into the free-run area, and tried jumping off a wall onto a trampoline that was supposed to catapult her over another wall.

Michelle had tried jumping off a wall onto a trampoline – which was meant to bounce her over another wall: ‘Instead, unfortunately, it propelled me straight into the opposite wall – splitting the base of my nose away from my upper lip. There is a waiver to sign before you go ‘jumping’ which states there is a “risk of death.”’

There’s loads more stories, but you get the picture. A spokesman for Flip Out, which has 30 centres in the UK, said: ‘The incidents relate to a specific piece of equipment that was immediately closed. Our systems and procedures have evolved significantly since.’

In fairness, they do have a respectable 4.4 review on Google, so I guess it’s true that they’ve taken the measures to improve the safety and experience of Flip Out Chester, now that Shuttleworth and Melling are out of the picture:

Still, pretty mental that it took 270 incidents and 11 broken backs for anyone to do something about it, but I guess those ‘death waivers’ had them covered (until now).

Can’t help but think of the Simpsons episode where the family got a trampoline, put it in the garden, invited hundreds of people around to use it and caused hundreds of serious injuries:

To watch a wannabe pro wrestler somersault off a ladder onto a barbed wire trampoline, click HERE. Not his brightest idea.



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