ACT News

ObstaSplash inflatable obstacle course organisers defend safety record of Bungendore event after injuries

The organisers of an inflatable obstacle course, which left a woman with a broken leg, has defended the event's safety record, saying only two ambulances were needed  at the Bungendore event over the weekend, despite thousands of participants.

Belconnen woman Bec Osborne broke her leg in three places at the ObstaSplash event at the Bungendore Showground on Saturday while other people  complained of broken ankles, a dislocated shoulder and friction burns on the Facebook page and called for refunds.

Bec Osborne broke her left leg in three places at the ObstaSplash event in Bungendore.
Bec Osborne broke her left leg in three places at the ObstaSplash event in Bungendore. Photo: Melissa Adams

But ObstaSplash director Dan Palmer said there were very "few incidents" at the company's first event and he was seeking legal action over the untrue social media comments.

"Compared to industry averages there were very few injuries," he said.

"It's a physical activity, it's an obstacle course, people mess around and slip ... and sometimes someone will hurt themselves, but the actual event was really safe, it wasn't dangerous at all."

Mr Palmer said one ambulance was for a woman who broke her foot and the other was for a man who dislocated his shoulder after participating in the event after a recent shoulder reconstruction.


But another participant, Tegan Farrelley, said she also witnessed a number of apparent injuries and she and her friends were burnt by the plastic slides.

Mrs Osborne blamed the injuries on the lack of water and understaffing at the event. She is waiting for surgery on her leg at Canberra Hospital.

She said she broke her leg after bouncing off inflatable balls similar to TV-game show Wipe Out in the first session on Saturday.

"I knew something was wrong … but there were no event people on the actual obstacle, luckily my best mate was behind me," she said.

"There was a photographer there and I yelled out to him … meanwhile people were still coming through … and every time it bounced it was excruciating pain."

Mrs Osborne said first aiders at the event initially refused to call an ambulance until they had approval from the organisers and without paramedics onsite she could only be administered paracetamol until an ambulance arrived from Queanbeyan 20 minutes later.

But Mr Palmer said the first aid staff onsite were paramedics.

He denied there were any friction burns and said only two obstacles featured water which were both filled by 10am on Saturday.

"It's not a water park, it's not Wipe Out," he said.

Mr Palmer would not say if refunds or compensation were being considered and said the organisers would contact the injured participants.

Mrs Osborne said she was yet to hear from the organisers, but was offered a free T-shirt after her injury.

Ms Farrelley was also still waiting for a response to her email complaint and request for a refund over the "ObstaFlop".

Tickets for the five-kilometre course were advertised at $85 including use of 12 inflatable obstacles over six time slots on Saturday and Sunday – limited to 6000 participants.

Participants had to be at least 13 years old and sign a waiver saying they were aware of the "risks and hazards" of the "dangerous activity" and were responsible for their own first aid and emergency medical care costs and transportation, the website said.

An online petition demanding refunds for the "disappointing and dangerous" event had attracted 62 signatures at time of publication.

But Mr Palmer said only a handful of people had a bad experience.

"99 per cent of people loved it … we actually provided a huge cash injection to the town of Bungendore, $150,000 was spent on local trades and services," he said.

ObstaSplash was billed as "Australia's largest fully-inflatable obstacle course" and will go to Melbourne in April and South Australia in December.

The website says the event relies on volunteers, who receive free entry and food, to provide direction on the course, but Mr Palmer said all staff were qualified.