Coaster Kingdom

Hydro: McNamara 'happy' with training
Thursday, May 18, 2006

Article image Paddy McNamara, the managing director of Oakwood, has today defended the safety record of Oakwood, praising his training department and pointing out that despite Hayley's death, 120-million rides had safely been completed at Oakwood before the accident and that he was 'perfectly happy with the training' run by his training department.

This follows evidence given by the ride supervisor and ride assistant on the day of the accident. Gareth Etchells, who was supervising at the time of the accident, was given 20 minutes training prior to being put in charge of the ride. He told the hearing that he was not told to physically check restraints.

The senior supervisor, Peter Owen, who trained Etchells denied this saying that he was 'absolutely' told, although said that that although Etchells signed to say that he had read and understood the manual this was not the case.

The ride assistant, Rebecca Chittleburgh, however, was aware physical checks were necessary, although she said she did not check Hayley's restraint as she was distracted.

Paddy said that the park has cared for over six million visitors since it opened in 1986, and that their training was regarded highly by third-party bodies. Mark Williams, human resources manager, also defended the park's standard of training saying the the supervisor on the ride would have received four days' training, some of which would have been in a classroom.

Gary Etchells who was supervisor at the time of the accident was defended by Gareth Scotcher who was responsible for drawing up rotas. Scotcher said that the only feedback he heard about Etchells was positive.

On Rebecca Chittleburgh he said that he found her 'trustworthy and hard working'.

More tomorrow.

Full Hydro inquest coverage

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