That could’ve been our family

TWO weeks ago, like thousands of Gold Coasters, I took my kids to the Gold Coast Show.

We had a really fantastic time – we snacked on greasy carnival food, played a few over-priced games along sideshow alley, bought some showbags, and my four-year-old went on a handful of rides.

It was a fun, happy family day.


Which is why I’m absolutely shattered by the horrific accident that happened at the Adelaide Show on Friday.

In case you didn’t hear, an 8-year-old girl tragically died after being flung 10 to 15 metres in the air, having slipped out of the safety harness on a ride called the ‘Airmaxx 360’.

It’s truly a tragedy, and there will be dozens of people traumatised by this shocking accident.

People like Malinda Dunwoodie, 17, who told News Corp that she saw the girl “flying through the air” and started sprinting towards her. “I was shaking so much, she looked like a doll flying through the air. It was so shocking. It was like a horror movie,” she said.

I can only imagine.

No doubt, over the next few weeks we’ll learn much about the ride: it’s age, history of repair and performance record, as officials try to get to the bottom of how such an appalling accident occurred.

But for now, I can’t stop thinking about her parents. Her poor, devastated mother.

I think any parent can easily put themselves in this position and think: That could have been me.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Gold Coast Show was teeming with families, running in all directions, enjoying the rides and animals and sideshow attractions.

And that poor mum was right there, watching the whole thing unfold. She had just minutes earlier been talking to her daughter. Maybe she gave her a kiss before the ride, maybe not. Maybe they were waving at each other during the ride; maybe mum was distracted with other kids.

They are the types of mundane moments we’ve all experiences as parents, but for this sweet young girl and her grieving mother, they will be their last moments together.

I think it’s that – the shockingly ordinary circumstances under which this poor young girl has died – which has affected me most, because it’s yet another reminder of how vulnerable we all really are in the grand scheme.

I may have gone a little overboard in hugging my little ones over the weekend, but can you blame me?

The Meddler

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