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Fatal playground accident shocks SA town

A slippery dip that fell on a six-year-old boy and killed him should have been removed from a rural South Australian park years ago, a playground inspector says.


Max Redden died on Saturday when a slide tipped and fell on him in the small town of Farrell Flat, about 20km west of Clare.

It happened during a gathering of families at the Mintaro Tennis Club for the Mid-North Tennis Association competition.

Playground inspector Michael Kearnes says the slide depicted in a police photo did not meet national standards.

“The slide should be securely anchored to the ground either by concreting or fasteners,” he told the ABC on Monday.

“The slide itself is roughly 25 to 30 years old and should have been taken out of service a long, long time ago.”

A police spokesman told AAP the park was closed after the incident.

“Our involvement is that we make sure there’s nothing suspicious about it and put a coroner’s report in,” he said.

Goyder Council chief executive John Brak confirmed police had secured the playground.

“We’re not interfering with a SAPOL investigation – it’s their site,” he said.

He said he couldn’t comment on whether the slide that tipped over met national standards.

He also said it was too early to say what would happen to the playground after police concluded their investigation.

“It’s far too early. We’ll await the SAPOL report … and we’ll co-operate with SAPOL in that process,” he said.

Farrell Flat Primary School principal Anne Heinrich says it was a shocking thing to happen.

“There were a few lads from my school here – they were inside when it happened – they’re very distressed. (The tennis) was a real family thing,” she told News Corp.

She said the slide had been at the site for about 20 years and had been checked by council and the tennis club.

Clare Valley Mayor Allan Aughey said the death had devastated the close-knit community.

Clare’s St Joseph’s School and the parish community have extended their deepest sympathy to the Redden family.

Principal Peter Shearer said Max was a pupil at the school, which is providing support for staff, students and parents to ensure they are best equipped to deal with the tragedy.

Counsellors and extra staff have been on hand to provide support and this will be reassessed on a daily basis, he said on Monday.

“Max’s parents and siblings are highly engaged and involved in many aspects of school, parish and community life.

“The wider community has rallied to support each other and now has the task of supporting the Reddens over the next days, months and years.”

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