A 12-year-old boy told his mother he thought he was going to die after he came adrift and was thrown around inside an amusement ride in Clareville over the weekend.

Jacob Gerritsen, from Martinborough, had been at the A&P Show on Friday night when he took a turn on the Gravitron.

On this circular ride passengers lean against padded panels and it spins so fast riders experience three times the force of gravity.

The padding had slipped out from underneath Jacob and he had been pushed upwards by the ride's force, which had thrown him into a backwards flip behind the seats into the steel framing, where he was "tossed around" for the remaining stretch of ride.


Jacob's outraged mother, Kristan Ramsden, is demanding answers from the ride's owner as to why despite screams from those witnessing the incident the operator did not stop the ride.

"He actually thought he was going to die," Miss Ramsden said.

"Everyone was screaming. He was smashing around. He's got bruises and bumps from head to toe, he suffered concussion and he's got injuries everywhere."

She had not been at the A&P Show with her son. He had been there with his friend Devon, and Devon's father.

"He [Jacob] was screaming, his friend was screaming and people that saw it were screaming."

Devon had crawled, fighting against the gravity, over to the operator signalling for him to stop the ride.

Miss Ramsden said the accounts she had heard from those watching the "traumatic ordeal" was that "the operator wouldn't stop the ride".

"So what I want to know is whether or not the operator couldn't hear Devon, or if he couldn't stop it. And why wasn't he watching."

Miss Ramsden was most upset when she heard that the operator had allegedly blamed her son for the episode.

The mother-of-three describes Jacob as lovely mannered, pleasant and well-behaved.

"He's a good kid - he's not a rule breaker."

"He walked away from there feeling like he had done something wrong. It's not his fault and I'm not going to let him feel like that."

Emergency services had been called to the showgrounds just before 9pm and then Jacob had been checked over at Wairarapa Hospital and released the same night.

"He could've been killed if any of those head injuries had been in the wrong spot.

"I'm just so thankful that my boy is still alive."

The owner of the ride, John Mahon of Mahons Amusements, called Miss Ramsden yesterday morning.

He told her he was glad that Jacob had not been more seriously hurt during the incident and that there would be an investigation to figure out why it had happened.

He had also told Miss Ramsden that the ride operator had been a "good operator" and it takes time for the machine to shut down.

Miss Ramsden said she told Mr Mahon that she wanted to know what action he would take to ensure what happened to her son didn't happen to somebody else.

"I want to know how this happened and how this is not going to happen in the future. The next person could die. Jacob's just so bloody lucky," she said.

The Times-Age made several attempts to contact Mr Mahon for comment but he could not be reached.