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Fresh legal twist after 26-year-old woman struck by rollercoaster

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WARNING: Distressing content.

The family of Shylah Rodden is considering legal action as the 26-year-old continues to recover in hospital after being hit by a rollercoaster.

Rodden was struck by the Rebel Coaster ride at the Melbourne Royal Show last Sunday evening.

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She suffered several broken bones and a brain injury and remains listed as being in a critical condition.

Eyewitnesses say she was “transfixed” by something on the ground, possibly a phone, and didn’t see the ride coming when she allegedly stepped onto the tracks.

But one week on from the incident, lawyers representing the family say they have not ruled out legal action.

Arnold Thomas and Becker practice manager Aki Munir told The Herald Sun: “We are investigating issuing proceedings against the Melbourne Show and the ride operator. It will be an action in negligence.”

The firm is also representing Rodden in a separate civil action relating to an incident in 2018, she said.

26-year-old Shylah Rodden. Credit: 7NEWS

Previously, an eyewitness who inadvertently captured the moment the woman was flung into the air by a rollercoaster says he and his family are traumatised.

Jordan, whose surname was withheld, told 7NEWS.com.au that only a small number of people witnessed the full events.

He was filming the Rebel Coaster ride while his sister Chloe and his partner Alex were in the front carriage, coming around a loop.

When they did, however, the ride struck 26-year-old Rodden, carrying her several metres in the air before she fell.

Jordan witnessed the moments leading up to the collision and said on Wednesday he “hasn’t slept since”.

“Both my sister and partner got called up to go on the ride previously but there was only one seat and they waited for the next one,” he said.

“My other sister was watching with me, we waited probably 15 minutes before we saw them because of the line.

“While we were waiting, we saw something drop from one of the rides and didn’t know what it was. Probably 10 minutes later, the ride my partner and sister were on went around.

“We saw a lady in an area where she shouldn’t be. A worker told her to get away but we couldn’t hear the whole conversation, she just told her not to be there. That person started to walk away and I didn’t think much of it.”

He turned his attention back to the ride his sister and partner were on and began to record.

Then, he says, tragedy struck.

The Rebel Coaster ride was closed on Monday. Credit: 7NEWS

“It all happened so quickly but so slowly. All of a sudden, I saw someone getting taken up but at the same time I’m thinking ‘f***, my sister, my partner.”

The footage that accidentally captured the accident shows a woman standing by the tracks of the ride.

She appears to be looking down and doesn’t see the carriage – and its occupants – screaming towards her.

“She’d put her foot in between the post and started to bend down,” Jordan said.

“What my sister and partner have told me, it looked like someone had thrown themselves in front of it.

“But you can see she’d bent down to pick something up. I don’t know if it was a phone or what, but she was so fixated on picking it up that she didn’t even see the ride at all.”

When she was hit, he said, she was silent.

“I didn’t hear her scream,” he said.

“The screams that I heard came from onlookers, I think. It happened so fast.”

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Jordan said he’d agreed to speak out to draw attention to the unseen aspect of the disaster – the first responders.

Within minutes of the accident, the scene was cordoned off and police and Show staff were speaking to people.

Those still on the ride, including Chloe and Alex, were stuck up there for just shy of an hour.

But workers manually moved them from the steep incline they were on to a more level area of the track in a bid to make them more comfortable.

“They were up there for about 45 minutes – but I can see how it might have felt like hours,” Jordan said.

Police were on the scene first, he said, offering counselling and information.

“They offered counselling, numbers to call and all that,” Jordan said.

“But they just let us know what was happening. They were very nice, took all our statements.

“I was trying to sign my name at the bottom of my statement and my hand was shaking. I’ve never experienced anything like that and I hope it never happens again.”

The footage he captured, which he describes as “lucky or unlucky”, was passed on to police as they investigate how the accident happened.

7NEWS.com.au has chosen not to publish the full video.

It was earlier posted on social media but not by Jordan.

People are seen queueing at the Show the day after the incident. Credit: AAP

Earlier this week, the organisers of the Melbourne Royal Show issued a statement confirming that WorkSafe had finalised its inspection of the ride and gave it the all-clear to resume running.

“The safety and well-being of our visitors to the Show continues to be our number one priority,” the statement said.

“Strict safety protocols are upheld in line with Victorian WorkSafe regulations. All rides on site have undergone stringent compliance inspections and have passed all the required safety documentation.”

But Rodden’s family said they were “saddened and appalled” that the ride had reopened so soon after the incident.

Earlier, Melbourne Royal Show CEO Brad Jenkins described it as a “tragic accident” and said his thoughts were with the young woman’s family and friends.

“It is a tragic accident and from our understanding, there was a mobile phone at the base of the Rebel Coaster that she dropped on the ride and she went back to recover the mobile phone,” he said.

“Regrettably, she was tragically struck by the cart coming down.

“It is an extreme rollercoaster which is a lot of fun generally, but this was a tragic accident that shouldn’t have happened.”

He added that the operator of the ride was experienced and that the machine itself had not malfunctioned.

“This is a tragic accident, not a malfunction of a ride, so I can assure people that the rides are entirely safe,” he said.

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Source: 7News