A 15-year-old girl died in a freak go-karting accident when her headscarf became tangled and strangled her, an inquest has heard.
Ruwaida Adan's hijab became entangled in her go-kart just minutes into a race with fellow teenagers who were attending a summer school.
The teenager, whose heartbroken family described as "sweet and compassionate", was rushed to hospital after the horrifying incident at Capital Karts in Barking, London, in August last year, but died four days later, MyLondon reported.
Ruwaida Wore Hijab Despite Policy to Remove All Loose Clothing
Ruwaida had only recently started wearing a hijab before her death and did not wear it all the time, an inquest at Walthamstow Coroner's Court heard.
The indoor go karting arena in Barking, which has since closed for unrelated reasons, had a policy that all loose clothing needed to be removed before getting into the cars and Ruwaida should have been told to take it off, but this reportedly did not happen.
Instead, Ruwaida put a balaclava on over the top of her hijab and the end of the scarf was said to be hanging out of the helmet and the suit.
Cause of Death
Ruwaida, from Newham, London, died of a hypoxic brain injury and asphyxiation, a jury ruled at the inquest into her death. Youth worker Zoe Cumberbatch, who had accompanied the group of teenagers on the trip as part of a youth scheme, told jurors that staff at Capital Karts did not tell anyone taking part that they needed to remove loose clothing or tuck in their hair.
Zoe, who herself had long braids, said no track marshals told her she needed to tuck her hair in until she was getting into the go kart at the start line. She said she only became aware that something had happened to Ruwaida when another student stopped their kart and pointed at the teen.
Jury: Karting Arena Failed to Carry Out Safety Inspection Checks
Jurors heard the cart was inspected after Ruwaida's death and two parts designed to prevent loose items becoming entangled in the bottom of the cart were damaged. The jury concluded: "No safety check ensured that Ruwaida removed her headscarf before getting into her go car.
"No daily mechanics check was carried out on August 6, 2021. In Ruwaida's cart the plastic drive belt guard to the rear axle was absent and the rear seat shield was damaged. Both should cover exposed moving parts. Ruwaida's scarf became entangled in the moving parts resulting in her asphyxiation and her death on August 10, 2021."
Assistant Coroner Leanne Woods has now issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report addressed to the managing director of Capital Karts raising a number of safety concerns. The Barking branch of Capital Karts has now closed for unrelated reasons, the inquest heard, but the company still operates in Canary Wharf. The inquest heard Capital Karts has now changed its policy and requires a member of staff to witness a headscarf being removed at reception.
However, the coroner said she is concerned about reliance on checks being carried out at reception and the lack of evidence about additional training and monitoring of track marshals.