A coroner’s report on the death of a three-year-old girl in New Zealand last year has been released this week citing the cause of the girl’s death was a tragic in the true sense of the word. Amberlie Pennington-Foley, who moved to Wellington from the UK with her parents in 2011, died in a freak accident on Aug. 27, 2020 when her father landed on her after falling off a playground equipment at a park in Upper Hutt. 

According to the New Zealand Herald, the coroner’s report that was issued this week determined that the girl's death was not caused by faulty playground equipment nor was it due to negligence on the part of her father.

The girl had been playing with her father Robert on a piece of equipment called the Supernova Ring, which is a rotating plastic ring suspended off the ground. It is spun by either running on it like a hamster on a wheel or using your hands. 

Robert was standing on one side of the ring close to the ground while his daughter sat on the other side of the ring which was elevated higher. He then began to step from one side to the other, which caused the disc to spin gently. This in turn caused Amberlie to move towards him and away from him repeatedly. 

“After repeating this sequence of sideways steps one way and then the other a few times, Mr Foley started to lose his balance,” the report stated. The girl’s father attempted to jump off of the ring, but this caused the disc to suddenly rotate. Amberlie moved towards him when he lost balance and toppled over the girl. 

Robert fell and landed with his full weight on his daughter's head and neck, the coroner reported. Coroner Peter Ryan said: “I would not be surprised to learn that many other parents had previously operated the Supernova in a similar manner without serious incident.”

Amberlie was able to recover from the impact but her parents later noticed she was “wobbly” while on her feet. They also noticed a blood around her nose and on her top which made them decide to take her to a medical clinic which was a three minute drive away. Both parents believed doing this would be quicker than calling an ambulance.

By the time the family arrived at the hospital the girl was already looking pale and unresponsive. The clinic staff immediately called an ambulance, but medics were unable to revive the girl. The coroner added there was no evidence her father had been operating the equipment in a dangerous or reckless manner.

A report provided by the Upper Hutt City Council said the supernova has complied with the New Zealand standard for playground equipment and has undergone inspection immediately after Amberlie’s death. The equipment was found to have no remarkable defects. 

After considering all the circumstances surrounding the accident, Ryan had no recommendations or comments to make. He can only sent his condolences to Amberlie's family.

children-3698745_960_720 Representation Image Toddlers Playing Playground Marzena7/ Pixabay