Two children from Hailsham and Herstmonceux sustained serious injuries when they were in collision with a kart at a soapbox derby in Warbleton on Bank Holiday Monday.
Two three-year-old children, who are cousins, were among spectactors watching the Warbleton karting ‘Soap Box Derby’, known locally as the Church Hill Challenge, which is organised by the Black Duck pub.
Police said they sustained serious head injuries when a pedal driven kart left the road and was in collision with spectators.
The girl, from Hailsham, was taken by air ambulance to Kings College Hospital in South London and the boy, from Herstmonceux, was taken by air ambulance to St George’s Hospital in Tooting. Their conditions are currently assessed as critical, police said.
Emergency services were called to the road outside the Black Duck pub in Warbleton at 3.10pm.
Police said three other spectactors were injured in the incident, including a 20-year-old woman who was taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton with arm injuries, a four-year-old Peacehaven boy who was taken to the same hospital by ambulance with leg injuries, and a 37-year-old man who was taken by ambulance to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings to be treated for a leg injury.
Police said the 36-year-old Rushlake Green man who was driving the kart suffered a minor knee injury which did not require hospital treatment, and a 60-year-old woman who was also on the kart sustained an arm injury.
Police said they have carried out initial enquiries and have spoken to the event organisers and witnesses, and are also keeping in contact with the victims and families involved. They are also supplying information to Wealden District Council so that they can establish the full circumstances and decide what action should be taken, as the road was closed at the time.
There was criticism from relatives of the injured people and other witnesses who described the scene as ‘carnage’.
The father of the Peacehaven boy, who did not want to be named, said: “My little boy had his femur snapped as we leaped out of the way.
“He’s in traction in Brighton hospital and will be for quite a while, the poor family next to us were wiped out by the cart as it flew by and there were mothers screaming and running up the hill with their kids seeking assistance.”
A Wealden District Council spokesman said: “We are working with the police and the organisers of the event to find out more about the circumstances that led to this accident.”