The parents of an 11-year-old schoolgirl who was killed when she fell from a river rapids ride at UK theme park Drayton Manor have said their “world has been torn apart”.
Evha Jannath was on a school trip when she fell from a boat into the water on the park’s Splash Canyon ride yesterday. She was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but died from her injuries soon after arrival.
“She was loved by everyone”: Evha Jannath’s school pay tribute to 11-year-old killed at theme park. Post continues after video.
“Yesterday our world was torn apart by the news that our daughter and sister Evha, had lost her life in tragic circumstances, following a school trip to Drayton Manor Park,” her heartbroken family said, in a statement shared by Staffordshire Police on Facebook.
“Evha was a beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling.
“Words cannot describe the pain and loss we feel, we are devastated that we will not see our beautiful little girl again.
“We ask that you allow us to grieve in private and deal with our loss as a family.”
It's believed the young girl was attempting to "swap seats" on the ride, when the boat she was in hit a rock.
"When the girl got up to change seats just then it hit a rock and she got knocked out of the boat and fell in the water and the water currents dragged her in," a parent of a child who was on the ride with Evha told Daily Mail.
"They couldn't see her after she fell in".
Splash Canyon has been closed following an incident this afternoon. Emergency services & our fully trained park staff are assisting. pic.twitter.com/Fkji90Nwjs
— Drayton Manor (@Draytonmanor) May 9, 2017
The tragedy bears a striking resemblance to an accident that killed two men and two women at Australian theme park Dreamworld on the Gold Coast last October.
Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozbeh Araghi, and 42-year-old Cindy Low were killed when the ride malfunctioned.
Two rafts on the Thunder River Rapids hit one another at the end of the ride, tipping one backwards. Two people were flung from the raft and two became trapped on the conveyor belt of the ride.
Zainab Mohammad's 16-year-old sister was on the trip with students from Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester and said the school community was "devastated" by the tragedy.
"It's tragic. We don't know what the cause is but what we really want is for the family to be able to grieve," the 26-year-old told The Metro.
"A family member has been ripped from their family and it's a big loss. Everybody is in utter shock, there are no words. I couldn't sleep last night, thinking of this."
She added her younger sister was "devastated" and was refusing to speak about the ordeal.
A friend has also shared that 11-year-old Evha very nearly missed the fateful trip because she wasn't wearing "suitable clothing".
"Evha came to school but didn't have the right clothes for the trip so she borrowed some. It meant she could go with everyone else," the student told The Telegraph.
"I saw her at the park but I didn't see what happened. I think it was her last ride before going home. It's really sad. She was really nice."
The Splash Canyon ride was opened in 1993 and features up to 21 boats which carry up to six people each. A description of the attraction promises a "wild ride" through "fast-flowing rapids".
The theme park remains closed to the public after the tragedy.