Inspector who signed off on M&D’s crash coaster avoids prison

The wreckage of the Tsunami rollercoaster after it derailed at M&D's three years ago
The wreckage of the Tsunami rollercoaster after it derailed at M&D's three years ago

An Uddingston man responsible for inspecting a roller coaster which crashed at M&Ds Theme Park has avoided a jail sentence.

Craig Boswell signed off the Tsunami ride as safe without having a vital report from another inspection company.

Nine people, most of them children, were injured in the crash at the Strathclyde Park attraction in June 2016.

Earlier this year M&D Leisure was fined £65,000 at Hamilton Sheriff Court after failing to ensure the ride was maintained in an efficient state.

At the same court Boswell (56) admitted an offence under health and safety legislation.

He was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid community work as an alternative to custody.

The court heard of a catalogue of serious injuries that were sustained by the casualties who were aged between 11 and 19.

Passengers plunged more than 15 feet from the ride which had a top speed of nearly 40 miles an hour.

One boy, aged 12 at the time, had to be resuscitated after he stopped breathing. He suffered two punctured lungs among other injuries and was in an induced coma for six days

An 11-year-old boy lost part of his hand and was in hospital for four weeks. His hand was reconstructed using skin from his leg. He has had 13 operations so far and more surgery is anticipated.

Selena Brown, prosecuting, said some of the young victims have had to give up sport as a result of their injuries and some continue to suffer the psychological effects of being involved in such a traumatic accident.

The court heard welding repairs carried out to axles on the ride’s individual passenger cars were “inadequate and unsound”.

M&D Leisure had employed contractors to carry out repairs and the ride had been passed safe, but the company accepted it should have involved the manufacturer or another “competent person” in the process.

Boswell, a self employed inspector, admitted that he hadn’t obtained a report by another inspection company before the ride was given a compliance certificate which indicated it was safe to operate.

He was said to be “remorseful” over the omission and is paying £14,000 towards the cost of the Health and Safety Executive’s investigation into the accident.

His lawyer, Gavin Anderson, told the court: “But for some road traffic matters, he has no history of criminal offending.

“It is deeply regrettable that he finds himself in this position and he is fully willing to comply with all aspects of any community payback order imposed by the court.”

Sheriff Thomas Millar said Boswell was guilty of “medium culpability” and a prison sentence had to be considered.

But he told the accused: “I don’t think it is appropriate. I can take a step back from that and impose a period of unpaid work instead.”