A TERRIFIED family were trapped at the top of a ferris wheel in Adventure Island as staff closed up for the night.
Darren Riggs-Long, desperately tried to calm his wife Lynzie, 37, and their three young children as all the lights at the Southend theme park were turned off at closing time and staff prepared to leave.
The couple’s children Kieran, ten, Lewis, six, and three-year-old Jack screamed out as the cage blew about in the breeze and the family feared they might be trapped there for the night.
Mr Riggs-Long, 38, a packer from North London, had brought his family down for a four-day stay at the Camelia Hotel in Southend, but cut his holiday short because his children are so traumatised.
He said: “We couldn’t believe it. We were at the top of the wheel when the lights went out and staff started shutting the lights down on all the rides just before 10pm. It was cold and really dark.
“We were calling out for about 15 minutes before a member of the public spotted us.
“The attendant came back and switched the lights back on and got us down. The children are traumatised. Lewis woke up in the night crying and Kieran woke up shouting “get me down”."
The family were given five free wristbands and meals for another visit to Adventure Island, but Mr Riggs-Long says he will give them away.
He added: “The kids don’t want to go there any more. It is a shame because we had a great day. It was our second day in Southend and we spent all day there from 11.30am.
“We went on the rides and ate there.
“It was our very last ride and this happened. It spoiled the whole thing.
“I just want to get the kids home to some stability so they forget all this.
“They need to look at the procedures they have for shutting down at night”
Mrs Riggs-Long, a former pharmacist and now full-time mum, said: “We were having a lovely time until this happened.
“I have family here and I was looking forward to spending a few more days with them, but Lewis wants to go home. They were extremely apologetic and have said the attendant will be disciplined, but I don’t blame her.
She was just a young girl. I blame Adventure Island and the training they give youngsters.”
Adventure Island declined to comment about the incident on Monday night.