Alton Towers was under growing pressure last night after it emerged that 4 roller coaster riders were seriously injured on the Smiler rollercoaster. It transpires that the Smiler ride has a long history of issues and maintenance problems since it opened 2 years ago.
Contact Alton Towers
If you are concerned about someone who may have been injured, contact Alton Towers on a designated Hotline, 0800 230 0770.
The victims were crushed when their 53mph rollercoaster carriage ploughed into the back of an empty carriage which had been sent round the £18million Smiler ride on a test run. It is suspected that one victim has lost a leg. Amazingly, it took 5 long hours to free all the passengers from the carriage and 2 people were shown dangling upside down, 25 feet above the ground. There was a massive bang and ‘blood everywhere’ after the impact. Roller coaster accidents can understandably result in extremely serious, life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, leg injuries and spinal injuries.
What did the witnesses say?
Josh Pilling, a 20 year old who was at Alton Towers at the time said:
“There had been all sorts of problems with the ride. It kept stopping and starting and people were getting sick of waiting. Then suddenly they sent out a carriage full of people and it stopped halfway up a loop. Suddenly it started again and went headlong into the stationary carriage at the bottom with an ear-splitting crunch. People were screaming and crying. They should have shut it down and got engineers in. I’m just shocked it could happen. Anyone with a pair of eyes would have known not to let the carriage with people head down the loop when there was clearly an obstruction.”
Thomas Healy, a 26 year old Business Manager said:
“Suddenly the carriage moved, almost as though staff hit the wrong button, and it went down the loop and then smashed into the empty carriage. It was horrendous. The impact was massive and the people at the front looked unconscious for a bit. The carriage was crushed at the front and they must have suffered leg injuries. There was one guy whose head was covered in blood.”
What have Alton Towers said?
A Divisional Director at Alton Towers, Ian Crabbe said staff were devastated and that a major investigation was taking place with Health and Safety Executive Officials to attend Alton Towers.
Mr Crabbe said:
“I don’t know the details of that but it will form part of our investigation, as will the possibility of human error. I have been here for six years and this is the most serious incident in that time. I’d say it was the most serious in the history of Alton Towers. Our major concern is with those injured. This ride has had its issues but that’s normal for rollercoasters. I don’t think it would be fair to reflect on those issues and say they are connected – I don’t think they are.”
European Coaster Club
Marcus Gaines of the European Coaster Club said that roller coaster rides:
“Had automatic braking systems to ensure carriages stayed safe in separate sectors of the track. For whatever reason, we have ended up with the computer system not realising that a train has stopped on the track, and it has not held the car in its own sector, allowing a collision to take place. I can’t think of the last time something like that happened in the UK.”
How Much Compensation?
You may be wondering what sort of compensation the injured victims of the Alton Towers Smiler ride might receive. The amount of compensation varies from claim to claim depending on how serious theinjuries are. Here is a very rough estimate of what compensation some injuries receive on their own, NOT including the financial losses the victims could also claim :
Ankle: to £40,000
Arms: to £240,000
Back: to £125,000
Brain & Head Injury: to £250,000
Chest: to £110,000
Elbow: to £45,000
Feet: to £150,000
Hands: to £150,000
Knees: to £75,000
Legs: to £220,000
Neck: to £120,000
Pelvis & Hip: to £100,000
Shoulder: to £38,000
Wrist: to £48,000
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