Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Girl rescued from Coca-Cola vending machine

Meredith Adam after rescue
Meredith was treated to a seat in a fire engine after her ordeal

A mother has told of her six-year-old daughter's ordeal after her arm got trapped in a drinks vending machine and had to be rescued by firefighters.

Meredith Adam was left screaming in pain before she was cut free, after getting stuck at the Union Square shopping complex in Aberdeen on Sunday.

Her mother praised everyone who helped, but expressed concern that no key or machine engineers had been available.

A Union Square spokesperson said the incident would be investigated.

Meredith's mother Claire Gerrard told the BBC Scotland news website: "We had been to the cinema to see Alice in Wonderland on Sunday and were waiting in a big queue to pay at the car park.

I was so relieved, and people were applauding. She was looking at her arm in disbelief
Claire Gerrard
Meredith Adam's mother

"My daughter noticed the Coca-Cola machine as it's bright with big buttons. The next thing I knew she was screaming.

"I asked what was wrong and she said her hand was trapped, I thought she was joking, but I could not get her hand out - it was firmly lodged.

"She was screaming in agony. She was really, really upset. I felt helpless as I feared my daughter's arm would be crushed beyond repair."

The computing student said someone alerted Union Square staff, but was told they did not have keys on site which would be with Coca-Cola engineers, and also said she could not contact any engineers via a helpline.

Ms Gerrard said: "I did not know what to do next. However someone called the emergency services.

'Get reassurances'

"The machine was like Fort Knox. However, one fireman started to cut off her jacket and slowly her arm came out.

"I was so relieved, and people were applauding. She was looking at her arm in disbelief. The firefighters were wonderful and gave her a shot of the fire engine, and a bear - which has been called Cola."

However she added: "I have spent the last couple of days trying to get reassurances from Coca-Cola that they would check the machines are safe.

"My daughter's arm is like any other child's arm and I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

"They have been so unsympathetic, they don't seem to care."

Investigated fully

Grampian Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they had assisted to free the girl, and the Scottish Ambulance Service said it had also attended but the child did not need treatment.

A spokesperson for Union Square said: "We can confirm that we called the emergency services to the centre on Sunday evening, to help a young girl whose arm had become stuck in a drinks vending machine.

"We take the health and safety of our customers and staff very seriously and will be investigating the incident fully."

A Coca-Cola Enterprises spokeswoman said Coca-Cola had investigated the incident and found no fault with design or functionality.

She said the company had sympathy with the people involved, but warned that customers had to use equipment in an appropriate way.

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