TWO Wigan children had a terrifying near-miss when a large chunk of a tree came crashing down on an inflatable slide at a funfair.
The freak incident happened at Funland at Pennington Flash Country Park in Leigh when a tree split in two and part of it crashed onto the ride just after 2pm on Sunday.
Three-year-old Daniel Parkinson was on the inflatable at the time but was unhurt as only the topmost branches came down on the slide.
Dad Mike today praised his seven-year-old daughter Sophie’s quick thinking, saying she pushed her brother to safety while on the inflatable, and spoke of his relief she and Daniel were not injured.
Mike, 47, said: “I had taken a picture of them on top of the slide and was just looking at it when I heard a massive crack like lightning.
“I looked up and this tree had landed on top of the ride where my kids were just a minute ago.
“The branches trapped Daniel and just missed my daughter. Sophie saw her brother in the branches and pushed him out down the slide.
“It was quite frightening, somebody screamed and Daniel was crying. We were just glad to have all three kids with us when we left.
“Sophie’s only seven and I thought she did really well. She didn’t panic and when I asked her she just said she had to help her brother. I think she deserves some sort of medal or bravery award.”
However, Funland director Claudia Pont disputed Mr Parkinson’s claim Sophie was on the ride at the time and emphasised the company’s commitment to health and safety.
Ms Pont said: “There were no injuries and that is the most important thing. Health and safety is a major priority for us.
“There was no damage done to the inflatable and it reopened within an hour after I had double checked it.
“After the incident the family continued using the rides for around 40 minutes then asked for a full refund, which they were given with no questions asked.
“We do daily checks on the rides and the tree was on the other side of a fencing barrier and outside the area we rent for the funfair.”
Wigan Council said an investigation had been launched and it had inspected the area.