AN epileptic dad was left unconscious in a theme park maze for eight hours after suffering a seizure while playing hide and seek with his sons.
Ross Down was playing with his two boys in the Seascape Mirror Maze at Woodlands in Devon when strobe lighting triggered a fit.
The dad-of-two lay unconscious for eight hours before waking up on the floor in complete darkness at 1am, after the park had closed.
Ross, 35, told Devon Live: “It’s quite shocking what happened. Even the police couldn’t believe it when they arrived.”
He added: “Thank God I had my phone with me.
“I was in total darkness and I always feel disorientated after a seizure.
“The police phone operator guided me to where they knew the fire exits were but it was difficult because I’m not very coherent when I first come ’round.”
Police officers who attended took Ross home to Exmouth where his mum was caring for his sons Joshua, 10, and Jack, seven.
Ross said when he disappeared at about 5pm the alarm was raised by his family who told Woodlands staff that he was vulnerable because of his epilepsy.
He said: “My mum, step-dad and my boys looked for me and the team at Woodlands did a search but nobody could find me.
“I don’t blame my family for leaving – the boys were upset and they had no idea what else to do.”
The last thing he remembers is playing hide and seek and having fun with his boys.
He says when he reached a section with strobe lighting, adding that there was no warning before he approached the area.
The incident happened three weeks ago on Saturday September 14 at around 5pm to 6pm.
A spokesman for Woodlands Theme Park said: “Woodlands Family Theme Park is a 130 acre site and we do our absolute best to ensure all areas of the park are secured down properly, however, we are also a campsite so customers can still use parts of the park in the evenings.
“On the 14th of September, the communication from the family who were visiting the park with Ross mentioned of a ’lost adult’ and we did everything within our power to locate him but were unable to.
“A short while after, the family left the premises to return home, indicating that they potentially had located him themselves, we didn’t receive any calls, emails or visits to reception from the family offering any more information on if he had or hadn’t been found or that he suffered from Epilepsy.
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Upon speaking with the stepdad of the individual, he mentioned to our receptionist ‘that’s typical of what he does, he does it all the time’, indicating he wasn’t so concerned.
“Had the family mentioned to us that he suffered from epilepsy the procedure would be different and would involve further extensive search of the premises but as we didn’t have that information we didn’t. We receive countless reports of people missing only to be found 10 minutes later in the park by a member of staff or family member.”
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