A news website has issued a swift apology after its report about a local theme park ride breaking down, which it claimed had caused a “virtual nightmare” for “terrified” visitors, was found to be false.
The story was published on the Kent Live website on Monday before being taken down the same day.
It seems to have been based on tweets from an individual who shared pictures apparently showing people being led off the Scenic Railway ride at Dreamland, Margate.
Descriptions alongside the images were taken by the paper for use in its report.
The story, seen by Press Gazette, included the headline: “Dreamland theme park goers were left terrified after the Scenic Railway broke down”.
It added: “A fun ride turned into a virtual nightmare for a dozen people in Dreamland today after they found themselves stranded on a roller coaster.
“There was chaos at the popular Margate site today (Monday, August 29) as revellers out on a Bank Holiday break, found themselves stuck on the broke down ride.”
However a second story published later the same day by the Isle of Thanet Gazette, one of the titles that contributes to the Kent Live site, said that “no guests were trapped on a Dreamland ride”.
It included a quote from a Dreamland spokeswoman, who said: “The ride is not open and those in the photo are all engineers and operations staff, there is no entrapment of guests.”
The follow-up was shared on the Isle of Thanet Gazette’s Facebook page alongside the text: “We apologise to Dreamland for the confusion”.
One reader, commenting on the post, said: “Thats very naughty of gazette not to get their facts right [sic].” The paper replied: “Yes it is and only correct that we apologise and put the report right.”
The Kent Live site is part of the Local World stable of titles owned by Trinity Mirror after it completed a £220m buyout of the publisher in November.
It carries stories from a number of weekly Local World titles within the county and is a rival to the Kent Messenger Group’s Kent Online website.
Kent Live came under fire earlier today after a former sports reporter claimed there is now less coverage of smaller football clubs and cricket following the re-organisation of Trinity Mirror’s local newspaper newsrooms along web-first lines.