'Oh God, it's going to crash': Council sued after Ferris wheel plane accident - Kogonuso

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Mar 12, 2019

'Oh God, it's going to crash': Council sued after Ferris wheel plane accident

A girl on a Ferris wheel repeatedly screamed "it's going to crash" as she videoed a light plane which then ploughed into the ride on the NSW mid-north coast in 2011.
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Amber Christine Arndell, then 13, was filming herself and her younger brother, Jessie, at the Old Bar Beach Festival when Paul Clarendon Cox crashed his Cheetah Sierra 200 into the 20 metre-high Ferris wheel.

"Oh look, Jessie, a plane. We're going to watch a plane. Oh God, it's going to crash, it's going to crash, it's going to crash. Oh my God," Ms Arndell says in the video, which was shown in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday.

A thunderous bang then follows.

The boy can be heard screaming for his mother, and asks "Are we going to drop?" as his sister reassures him but begs to the people below "Please, let us down".

"I feel sick, the plane's just there, it just crashed on us," Ms Arndell says.

The now 21-year-old says she now suffers psychological problems and she's suing the Greater Taree City Council as well as the pilot.

Mr Cox himself is suing the local council, claiming it was negligent in a number of ways.

The pilot argues the council failed to close the airstrip when it knew, or should've known, the Ferris wheel's position would be hazardous to aircraft flying in and out.

It also failed to ensure no structure was erected at the airstrip's southern end and failed to identify that the ride's location caused a potential obstruction, he states.

The festival, an annual event over the October long weekend, was held on land adjacent to the Old Bar Airstrip.

Mr Cox was not physically injured in the crash but suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, specific phobia and depression, according to his statement of claim, including nightmares and avoidance issues related to planes.

The document states he has additionally developed an obsessional fear of sharp objects, which at its worst leaves him "afraid that pens will hurt him" or worried about injuring his fingers on the glass of his phone.

Mr Cox says the council owed him a duty of care and there was a foreseeable risk of a collision between an aircraft and the Ferris wheel.

The hearing continues before Justice Stephen Rothman.

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