June 23, 2019 4:21 pm
Updated: June 24, 2019 5:19 pm

Little girl airlifted to Edmonton hospital after ‘unpreventable accident’ at Wainwright parade

WATCH ABOVE: Few details are being released after a six-year-old girl was injured during a parade in Wainwright on Saturday. Julia Wong reports.

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A six-year-old girl from Wainwright, Alta., was airlifted to hospital in Edmonton this weekend after an incident at a local parade.

The girl, who is a 4-H member, was injured Saturday during the parade, which is part of the Wainwright Stampede festivities.

Susann Stone, the executive director of the 4-H Council of Alberta, said the injury was the result of an “unpreventable accident” but declined to elaborate further.

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“Unfortunately, the member was injured during the Wainwright parade and at this time, they’re seeking professional medical care,” Stone said.

“On behalf of those involved in 4-H in Alberta, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and [we] wish the member a speedy recovery.”

Gregory Harris, a communications adviser with Alberta Health Services, said EMS in Wainwright transported the girl, who was in serious condition, from the Wainwright Health Centre to the Wainwright Airport just after 2 p.m. on Saturday. A STARS air ambulance helicopter then transported the girl to Edmonton.

Global News pressed Stone on whether there would be an investigation. She replied that there are “processes and policies in place to follow up with those involved.”

Wainwright Mayor Brian Bethune said the girl fell off a float Saturday afternoon in the town’s annual stampede parade.

“It happened right as the parade was going past the Wainwright hospital,” Bethune said.

“A fellow who was watching the parade quickly picked her up and took her to the hospital.”

The girl was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital because there was a worry she might have brain damage, he said.

Brain damage is no longer a concern, Bethune said, but the girl is recovering from some broken bones.

He said he doesn’t know details about the fall.

“We’ll get a hold of the family later this week when things calm down a bit and talk about what happened,” he said.

“I know there is some video out there that people along the parade route have taken and we’re trying to get a copy of that.”

Bethune, who is also a member of the Wainwright Stampede Committee, said the association will decide if there are any further safety precautions needed before next year’s parade.

“We’ll look into what we can do better… anything can happen and you can’t always prevent it, but we will definitely look into how it happened and why,” he said. “If there’s a way we can prevent it as a stampede association in the future, we certainly will.”

“We have lots of time for the review,” Bethune said. “Right now we just want to make sure she’s OK and support the family until they get back home.”

Bethune said he wants the family of the little girl to know there is support from the community of Wainwright.

“Anytime anyone gets hurt, especially… young children… I think as a community, we all get together and we are right now praying for the little girl,” he said.

READ MORE: Young boy flown to Calgary hospital after being hit by truck at Nanton parade

Bethune said the girl’s injury is the first he’s heard of in the 66 years since Wainwright’s parade started.

There have been other parade accidents elsewhere, including fatalities.

Last year in Yarmouth, N.S., a four-year-old girl died after falling underneath a moving parade float during the Santa Claus parade procession.

The province’s transportation minister said at the time that his department was undertaking a review and considering whether safety conditions could be improved.

In 2012, an eight-year-old boy died after he jumped from a Ukrainian dance float and was run over in a parade in Preeceville, Sask. In 1990, an eight-year-old girl was killed after she fell under the wheels of a hay wagon she was riding on during the Calgary Stampede parade.

Watch below: (From August 2017) A six-year-old boy that fell from a flatbed truck and was struck by the same vehicle during the Nanton Round-Up Days parade is recovering at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. As Gary Bobrovitz reports, the town is hoping the boy recovers from his injuries.

— With files from Global’s Julia Wong 

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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