ARMSTRONG – One of the sleighs at a North Okanagan theatre company’s annual Christmas show tipped its load of audience members onto the snow last night.
The accident happened during one of the evening performances of the Gift of the Magi yesterday, Dec. 22, at the Caravan Farm Theatre’s property on Salmon River Road in Armstrong.
The theatre company’s interim artistic director Estelle Shook calls the accident “incredibly distressing and highly irregular.”
The annual Christmas shows feature sleighs pulled by teams of horses which carry audience members to various stages around the 40-acre property.
Shook says last night one of the sleighs went over an ice berm on the way back to the yard after the performance, cracked a runner and tipped just enough to tumble the people out onto the snow.
“There was a big commotion… the horses were immediately halted and everything came to a standstill while we dealt with the situation.”
Shook says no one was seriously hurt, although some people were left with bruises.
B.C. Ambulance and the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Fire Department responded to the accident.
A woman whose injuries were the most concerning kept saying she was fine and after a check by paramedics was let go, Shook says.
“It’s just due process that anybody who is involved in an incident here gets checked out by the ambulance services,” she says.
Shook has since spoken with the group of people involved in the accident and they are all fine, chalking it up as “a big adventurous night.”
“It’s not the kind of adventure we strive for and we’re glad everyone is OK,” she says.
The theatre company is confident the landscape problem that caused the accident has been addressed.
“We want to assure our public it’s a highly irregular occurrence and all of our resources are bent toward making sure that set of circumstances never occurs again.”
Shook says in the past 30 years of staging winter productions this is only the second time an audience member has been tipped out of a sleigh. The last time it happened in 2009 it was the result of an unbalanced load which is something they learned from and now never do.
“Every time we learn from these freak incidents and carry on,” she says.
She says all the people who work at the Caravan Farm Theatre are skilled professionals who take their jobs very seriously and take their responsibility to the public very seriously.
“People come here to have a good time... this is an important part of a lot of people’s holidays and we don’t want them to feel anxious about their upcoming reservation.”
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