Woman tells of "crying and screaming" after Tayto Park stair collapse
A woman has recounted stepping off a theme park staircase just moments before it collapsed, bringing parents and children crashing to the ground.
Multiple people were injured inside Tayto Park's House of Horrors on Saturday night when a section of stairs gave way. Nine were taken to hospital.
The incident happened at around 8pm during a Halloween-themed after dark event at the Co Meath visitor attraction.
It is understood no one was seriously injured in the fall, with the majority sustaining cuts and bruises. A spokeswoman for the park said people were taken to hospital as a "precautionary measure".
Rian O'Kelly said she visited the park with her 13-year-old sister and her two young friends.
The 25-year-old from Dublin said the stairway was in two sections and she had just stepped onto the middle landing when the stairs behind her "vanished" from sight.
"We heard this big creaking noise and we thought it was part of the show, like trying to be scary, but then, next of all, people directly behind us just dropped and the whole staircase collapsed," she said.
"Obviously everyone got really afraid and everyone started crying and screaming and stuff and running because we thought we were going to drop down as well, because we had just stepped off that staircase and everyone behind us just had gone."
Emergency services attended the scene on Saturday night and Ireland's Health and Safety Authority has launched an investigation into the cause.
In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday News programme, Ms O'Kelly said: "It was a family event - there were grown men and younger children on the stairs.
"There was definitely a lot of people injured from it."
She added: "We basically just saw everyone behind us just suddenly drop and they all landed on top of each other and the staircase completely gave way.
"All the younger children, and adults even, were screaming and crying. It really was very scary and quite ironic, that we were supposed to be going into a house of horrors."
The park at Ashbourne, which is themed on the famous Irish crisp brand Tayto, is the only one of its kind in Ireland. It opened in 2010.
A statement from the venue issued on Sunday morning said: "Last night at approximately 8pm the lower portion of a permanent staircase leading to The House of Horrors gave way.
"The Tayto Park emergency plan was immediately put in place and the emergency services attended the scene. Nine people were transported to hospitals in the city as a precautionary measure to assess their injuries.
"The management of Tayto Park will co-operate fully with the investigation as the safety of our guests is paramount."
The park was open again to visitors on Sunday.