The British girl, three, died when her father accidentally fell on her while trying to jump off a roundabout in a playground in New Zealand
- Amberlie Penninton-Foley, three, died last year near Wellington, New Zealand
- She was playing a kind of merry-go-round with father Robert when he fell over
- The girl landed under him when he fell, and he landed on her with all his weight
- The coroner classified the death as an “unusual accident” this week and expressed his condolences to the family
A British girl died in an unusual accident when her father fell off playground equipment and landed on her in New Zealand.
Amberlie Pennington-Foley, three, died of brain and spinal cord injuries after the accident in a park in Upper Hutt, a town near Wellington, on August 27th last year.
The girl was playing in a park around 10 a.m. with father Robert – who moved to New Zealand from the UK with his wife Emma in 2011 – when tragedy struck.
A coroner’s report released this week said the couple had been playing on a device known as a supernova ring – a rotating plastic ring suspended above the floor – when the accident occurred.
Amberlie Pennington-Foley, three, died last August after father Robert fell on her while the couple were playing in a New Zealand park
The couple had played on a device known as a supernova ring, which is suspended above the floor and rotates when people walk on it or push it (file image)
Robert had been standing close to the ground on one side of the ring, while Amberlie was sitting on the other side of the ring, which was raised higher.
According to the report, Robert began to walk from side to side, causing the disc to gently spin, moving Amberlie towards and away from him.
“After repeating this sequence of sideways steps a few times in one direction and the other, Mr. Foley lost his balance,” the report said.
He tried to jump out of the ring, but doing so suddenly turned and moved Amberlie toward him as he fell over.
When he fell, he landed with full weight on his daughter’s head and neck, the coroner reported.
Amberlie initially survived the impact, but was noticeably “shaky” on her feet afterwards, the report says.
Robert noticed that she had blood around her nose and on her top and decided to take her to a clinic a three minute drive away, believing it would be quicker than calling an ambulance.
When he arrived Amberlie was pale and unresponsive. The clinic staff immediately called an ambulance, but the doctors were unable to resuscitate the girl.
Coroner Peter Ryan concluded that the girl’s death was not due to an equipment fault or her father’s negligence.
‘[Her] Death was a tragic accident in the truest sense of the word, ”he wrote.
“I would not be surprised to learn that many other parents have previously operated the supernova in a similar manner without serious incident.”
Mother Emma Penninton-Foley is pictured with Amberlie as a toddler
Amberlie died of head and neck injuries, a coroner wrote this week, describing the death as an “unusual accident” and expressing condolences to the family
Ryan concluded by stating that he would not be able to make recommendations after his death and would only offer his condolences to the family.
At the time of death, Amberlie’s mother, Emma, said the whole town was devastated by what she called “sudden death”.
The family had asked for donations to bring relatives from Great Britain to New Zealand for the funeral.
“Words alone will never be enough to express our sincere thanks to everyone who donated or delivered food and flowers to us,” she told Stuff at the time.
“The love and support of everyone around us – and even the world – has literally got us through the last few days. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ‘
Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said his thoughts and prayers were with the family.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news today of a child who died after a tragic accident in Harcourt Park,” he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with families. We will do our best to support the relevant authorities with their inquiries. ‘