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Disneyland: 'Safety a priority' say park chiefs

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The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Paris. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
10:43 CET+01:00
UPDATED: Management at Disneyland in Paris moved to reassure visitors to the park that safety was paramount, a day after a five-year-old boy was left in a critical condition after he fell from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. His health has since improved.

Julien Kaufman, the Vice President of the EuroDisney group which runs Disneyland insisted on Thursday that everything will be done to determine the cause of an accident that left a five-year-old boy fighting for his life.

Kaufman said safety was "the number one priority" and that management will "make available all the information to authorities to try to work out what happened." 

The boy was left in critical condition Wednesday after falling off a boat on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, police and management said. Anne Chazareix, the police officer in charge of the probe into the accident, said the boy, "accompanied by his father, lost his balance when the boat was arriving at the end of the ride" in the amusement park near Paris.

He "fell and found himself stuck under the boat" in the water, she added, before his father and others pulled him out.

The accident happened on Wednesday afternoon, at a time of high affluence during school holidays, and the boy was rushed to hospital.

Chazareix said he was in critical condition but did not seem to have "visible injuries".

The ride - which is also a feature of other Disneylands around the world - allows visitors to glide on boats through various pirate scenes that include fighting and shipwrecks.

On Thursday, reports in the French media said the boy's life was no longer in danger. 

The Pirates of the Caribean ride will remain closed while park staff and police carry out an investigation.

Disneyland Paris is a hugely popular amusement park for tourists and locals. It attracted 16 million visitors last year, surpassing the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

But this is not the first time that accidents have happened at the park.

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In April 2011, five people were injured -- and one seriously -- in a wagon of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a rollercoaster.

The same train derailed in October of the same year, forcing the evacuation of some 30 people.

Three years earlier, overcome with panic, a man hurt his head after jumping off a ride when he was high above the ground.

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