Alton Towers Owner To Be Prosecuted Over Smiler Crash
The owner of Alton Towers, in Alton, England, is to be prosecuted over the Smiler rollercoaster crash in which five people were seriously injured. The Health and Safety Executive said Merlin Attractions will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on April 22nd 2016 to face a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Four people sitting in the front row of the carriage were among those most seriously hurt in the crash. Vicky Balch, 20, from Lancashire, had six rounds of surgery in a bid to save her leg before needing an amputation. Leah Washington, 17, from Barnsley, also had one of her legs amputated, while her 18-year-old boyfriend, Joe Pugh, shattered his knees. Daniel Thorpe, 27, from Buxton in Derbyshire, was treated for a collapsed lung and lower leg injuries. Another passenger, Chanda Chauhan, 49, from Wednesbury, had surgery after suffering internal injuries.
Following an initial investigation, Alton Towers said human error caused the crash. The theme park said staff misunderstood a shutdown message and wrongly restarted the ride. “This led to a decision to manually restart the ride, overriding the control system without appropriate safety protocols being followed correctly,” a spokesperson said at the time. No technical or mechanical issues were found with the ride itself. Alton Towers had a “significant” fall in visitor numbers after the accident on June 2, which resulted in the 500-acre theme park in Staffordshire being shut down for four days. However, it was reported on Thursday profits at the park have edged up, despite last summer’s accident.The Poole-based company, which also owns Legoland and the London Eye, said group pre-tax profits rose 0.3% to £250m from 2014. via BBC
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