Visitors' concern over lack of safety at amusement parks in Saudi
During this Eid holidays, citizens voiced their disapproval as well as concerns on the poor state of these parks, but many stressed on the lack of safety and use of old equipment and rides, which were just painted to look new.
Arab News met with a number of Saudi citizens on this issue and nearly all of them were scathing in their attacks at the state of these parks.
Muhammad Hammoud, a citizen, said these parks lack the simplest of safety tools and questioned who was ultimately responsible for the protection of the lives of the people.
“Is the Civil Defense, the municipality or the Commerce Ministry that gives licenses to these amusement parks responsible if any untoward incident happens?” he asked.
Hammoud said it was important to pinpoint the department or body responsible for safety in amusement and public parks.
“You find the rides and games in these amusement parks not up to the expected standard. Some rides are so old and cracked with sharp edges or some are just broken,” he said.
He added that the owners of the parks repaint these rides to make them look new and safe while actually they are not.
Badr Saeed, another citizen, related an incident he saw at an amusement park when visiting with his family. He saw a child being ejected from the car during the bumper car rides.
He said the accident happened because the child did not put on the safety belt. He could not as there was no safety belt in the car!
“The expatriate worker who was at the controls of the game did not pull the power to enable the father to rescue his son. While the father was crying for help, the bemused employee did not even know what to do. You cannot blame him, for he might not have been trained to deal with such incidents or because this was not his real job,” he said.
Saeed said the father forced himself inside the play area and carried his son to the first-aid room, which was totally bereft of any aid. It had nothing more than plasters and cotton. He said the father had no other option but to take his son to a nearby hospital.
Saeed said this incident evoked a number of questions: Why are the workers not trained to deal with such incidents? Why is there no first-aid facility or an ambulance in the park, especially with the Civil Defense calling for the availability of safety tools in work and public places?
Sirour Abdullah, also a Saudi, accused the owners of the amusement parks of using obsolete equipment. “Most of the games in our parks were brought from neighboring countries after their validity had expired. They were repainted and are being used again,” he said.
He recalled that the hair of a young woman in her 20s got stuck in one of the rides and there was no one to release her. “The effect on the woman was terrible,” he said.
By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA