A mother collapsed and died moments after going on a white-knuckle theme park ride.
Carla Knight suffered a heart attack soon after riding on the Maelstrom – a giant pendulum swing that propels riders more than 70ft into the air as they face outwards on a spinning gondola. The 42-year-old mother-of-two died at the scene despite first-aiders, an off-duty doctor and paramedics’ efforts to resuscitate her.
The £1million ride, which invites visitors to ‘experience the eye of the storm’, was closed for several hours after the tragedy at Drayton Manor Theme Park, in Tamworth, Staffordshire last Friday morning.
Lissy Goodyear, 17, saw the tragedy unfold. ‘They stopped the ride to get her off and put her on the floor,’ she said. ‘I saw the paramedics trying to get her heart rate back by doing CPR. I don’t think there was much they could do. It was horrible to see.’
Mrs Knight, who lived in Barwell, Leicester, worked as a respite carer for children with severe learning difficulties at the Dorothy Goodman School in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
It is understood she was with one of the pupils from the school at the time of the tragedy and not with her two teenage children, Rosie, 14, and Aaron, aged around 17.
Yesterday Rosie posted a message on her Facebook page simply saying ‘RIP Momma I Love You’. Aaron said: ‘She wasn’t with any family members when she died. She was doing what she does best and enjoys the most – her job.’ He added: ‘Please respect our privacy over the heart-breaking loss of my mum.’
Mrs Knight was known for her support of a number of charities, including Breast Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Her neighbours spoke of their shock at her sudden death. One woman said: ‘Carla was a devoted mother and a kind and considerate woman.
‘Her family will be devastated – she was so devoted to her children. It’s so tragic. No one deserves that, particularly someone so young.’