Boy who died at SnowDome was killed after his toboggan collided with a member of staff

Louis Watkiss suffered fatal injuries during an evening out with friends at the SnowDome in Tamworth last year

A 12-year-old boy who died at an indoor ski slope was killed after his toboggan crashed into a member of staff, it has emerged.

Louis Watkiss suffered fatal injuries during an evening out with friends at the SnowDome in Tamworth, on September 24 last year. Emergency crews rushed to the scene but Louis, of Sutton Coldfield, was pronounced dead at the scene despite the best efforts of paramedics.

Today (Wednesday, 26 October) the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed it was now leading a ‘criminal investigation’ into the schoolboy’s death. The HSE said Louis had collided with one of the snow centre’s employees while on the ski slopes at the popular attraction.

Louis Watkiss
Louis Watkiss
Louis Watkiss

A spokesperson said: “The investigation into the death of a child at Tamworth SnowDome has now been formally handed over to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A joint investigation was launched at the time of the tragic incident, led by Staffordshire Police.

“Following the handover, HSE will now lead the criminal investigation. Twelve-year-old Louis Watkiss was in a toboggan when it collided with one of the snow centre’s employees on Friday, 24 September, 2021.

“Louis suffered fatal injuries in the collision.” Andrew Johnson, principal inspector at HSE, added: “We continue to prioritise and thoroughly investigate the death of Louis, to establish any breaches of health and safety law. We are in regular contact with Louis’ family.”

Family tribute to Louis

Following his death, Louis’ family also paid tribute to him, saying he was their “love, pride and joy”, and a very talented musician who was sports mad.

In a statement released via Staffordshire Police 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 5 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. We are eternally grateful for the honour of knowing Louis and the pleasure of raising him. With Louis’ passing, we remind others that his life is one to be celebrated; although we will miss him every day, especially his winning smile, Louis will remain forever in our hearts.

Louis Watkiss
Louis Watkiss
Louis Watkiss

“We love Louis very much. Our pride. Our joy. Our love. We miss him so much it hurts.”

At the time of the accident, a police spokesperson, said: “Police were called to reports that a child had been seriously injured at the Snow Dome.

“Officers attended the location, along with ambulance crews. Sadly, Louis, died of his injuries shortly afterwards. Louis’s family are being supported by specially-trained officers.”

Tamworth SnowDome
Tamworth SnowDome
Tamworth SnowDome

Following the accident, the Martin Smith, the SnowDome chairman shared his regret of the fatal accident.

He, said: “The directors and all of the employees extend their heartfelt thoughts and prayers and condolences.”

In a statement, the attraction added: “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.”

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