The merry-go-round at the Durgapur fair. A couple were injured when one of its seats came off during a ride on Sunday. Picture by Arup Sarkar
Durgapur, June 25: A man and his wife riding a merry-go-round at a Durgapur fair last evening were flung 20 feet away when the nuts and bolts of the seat came off, their nightmare compounded by a half-an-hour scramble for an ambulance as they lay bleeding.
Private firm employee Indrajit Chattaraj, 42, fractured his nasal bone while his wife Alo, 35, suffered bruises on her hands and legs. Both lost consciousness after the fall.
The couple had gone to the Rath Yatra Mela on the Rajiv Gandhi Maidan with Indrajit’s parents, Swadhin and Maya Chattaraj, who did not take the ride. “The merry-go-round was spinning at great speed when the chair on which my son and daughter-in-law were sitting came off. They were flung into the air and fell around 20 feet from the merry-go-round,” Swadhin, 65, said.
The ride was stopped immediately. People sprinkled water on the faces of the couple to revive them.
But the two could not be taken to hospital immediately as the private organisers of the fair, the Ratha Yatra Utsav Samaj Kalyan Samiti, failed to arrange for an ambulance despite repeated requests.
“It is surprising that there was no ambulance at the venue of such a big event. We requested the organisers to arrange for an ambulance but they could not. The couple, especially the man, were bleeding profusely,” said Chandan Mukherjee, a visitor.
Visitors alleged “callousness” on the part of the organisers and ransacked the ticket counter of the merry-go-round. The samiti organises the fare in Durgapur every year.
In the commotion after the mishap, it did not strike anybody that a vehicle needed to be arranged to take the couple to the hospital.
Policemen stationed outside were called in to pacify the mob.
Indrajit’s elder brother Abhijit came to the fair venue in a car after being informed by their father. Indrajit and Alo were taken to the Durgapur Steel Plant Hospital in the car.
Later, they were shifted to the Mission Hospital in Durgapur.
Abhijit, who runs a transport business, said: “It is unfortunate that the fair organisers did not have basic facilities such as an ambulance.”
Doctors at the private hospital said the condition of the couple was stable. “Indrajit fractured his nasal bone while his wife suffered bruises on her hands and legs. She will be discharged tomorrow. But we will keep her husband under observation for some more days,” medical superintendent Partha Pal said.
Durgapur subdivisional officer Ayesharani A. has sought a report from the samiti on the mishap.
The organisers said there was an ambulance at the venue but it had taken a visitor who had fallen ill to hospital. “We had kept an ambulance but at the time of the accident, it had taken a visitor to hospital. The people got agitated before we could arrange for another ambulance,” said Anup Majumdar, the assistant secretary of the samiti.
The merry-go-round has not been operated since the accident.
Many visitors said they would not “dare” take such a ride in the future. “I have heard about yesterday’s incident. I have decided against taking such rides in the future,” steel plant employee Bhaskar Chowdhury said.