Alton Towers to cut up to 70 jobs after Smiler crash that left 16 injured

People desrted the theme park after horrific incident forced two teenagers to have legs amputated

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The Independent Online

Alton Towers is to make 70 staff redundant in the wake of the Smiler rollercoaster crash that forced two teenagers to have their legs amputated.

The theme park said it had reviewed its business as a result of the accident and as a result had informed the staff their jobs were at risk.

Park operator Merlin Attractions was fined £5 million in September for what a court labelled a “catastrophic failure” of health and safety procedures leading up to the crash in June 2015.

Engineers overrode the automatic system which stopped the ride, leading to the 90mph collision between two carriages. Vicky Balch, then 19, and Leah Washington, then 17, both had legs amputated as a result. Sixteen people were injured in total.

Alton Towers said on Monday the redundancies were part of its recovery plan and all areas of the business would face cuts before the park re-opens in March 2017. Merlin’s revenue dropped £14 million last year after the crash.

Judge Michael Chambers QC, sentencing Merlin in September, said the “obvious shambles of what occurred” could have been “easily avoided”.

He added: “This was a needless and avoidable accident in which those injured were fortunate not to have been killed or bled to death.”

An Alton Towers spokeswoman said: “As part of Alton Towers' continued recovery we have been looking at ways to improve our operating model.

“As a result of this review, Alton Towers Resort can confirm that it expects to make between 60-70 redundancies ahead of the 2017 season.

CCTV released of Smiler crash at Alton Towers

“Alton Towers will work closely with all those affected in order to support them through the consultation process and any subsequent requirement for alternative employment and job search activities.”

She added: “This was an incredibly difficult proposal to make and it has not been taken lightly.