A YOUNG boy was killed in a “freak accident” at an indoor ski slope when his sled crashed into a member of staff, it’s been revealed.
Louis Watkiss, 12, died while on a night out with pals at the SnowDome in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on September 24, 2021.
The HSE has confirmed it is leading a 'criminal investigation into Louis' death
The 12-year-old was a talented musician
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today confirmed it is leading a “criminal investigation” into the death of the schoolboy.
Louis’ death had previously never been fully explained with the tragedy shocking both the lad’s family and the local community.
The HSE’s principal inspector, Andrew Johnson, promised to “prioritise and thoroughly investigate any breaches of health and safety law.”
He added that the body was in “regular contact” with the boy’s family.
Louis’ parents Chris and Natalie Watkiss had been at home in Sutton Coalfield, West Midlands, when they got a call to say Louis had been hurt.
Heartbroken Chris said at the time that when they arrived at the ski centre they imagined his injuries would amount to no more than a broken arm.
But he told the BBC it was "a very nerve-wracking walk” with paramedics up the slope to where Louis was.
"There was a lot of blood and within a few minutes he was pronounced dead in front of me,” he said.
"I laid with him for a bit, told him he was a good boy and how much I loved him.”
One mum told at the time how her stepdaughter and friends were behind the boy when the horror unfolded.
She claimed the kids were effectively "trapped" on the top of an escalator as witnesses and medics frantically tried saving the boy's life.
She wrote on Facebook: "Our children were next to do down and saw it all.
“They tried to leave and were told to go back up. I was asking staff why they were just letting them witness it all, it was horrific.
“We weren’t even told if it was our child when I was shouting down from the viewing balcony.
“Eventually after 20 minutes we’d had enough and went in and got everyone out ourselves. Our children were a mess.
"My stepdaughter and her friends are still crying now (they were next to go down so saw it all) and it was three hours ago.
“There were toddlers and children witnessing very close up a horrific scene.
"You don't think these kind of things are that dangerous."
SnowDome chairman Martin Smith said: “The directors and all of the employees extend their heartfelt thoughts and prayers and condolences.
“Directors and staff are deeply shocked by what happened, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this terrible time.
“An investigation is currently being carried out by the authorities, and we are giving it our full co-operation.”
Louis was a talented musician who played saxophone in jazz ensembles and a Chelsea supporting sports fanatic, who also loved cricket.
After his death, Louis’ parents described him as “our pride, our joy, our love”, adding that they “miss him so much it hurts”.
In a statement released at the time, they said: “Louis was a son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin and a friend.
“Louis was a studious pupil who enjoyed learning showing immense curiosity about the world around him.
“Reaching grade five at saxophone through the Royal Academy of Music, his involvement in two jazz ensembles demonstrated his passion for music.
“Louis supported Chelsea and England football clubs and followed England Cricket and Birmingham Bears, regularly watching both sports. Along with cheering on AJ and Tyson Fury for their big heavyweight fights.
“We are so thankful George had five happy years with his brother, and he will hold dear the memory of Louis’ stoic personality.”
Louis died in a 'freak accident' when his sled crashed into a member of staff at SnowDome