Alton Towers crash: Rollercoaster testing competition cancelled after The Smiler incident

The ride was one of six rollercoasters that people were competing to review

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The Independent Online

Alton Towers has cancelled its competition for a roller coaster tester to try out The Smiler after a crash left four people in hospital.

The theme park, in Staffordshire, had been advertising to find a tester for its “Big Six” of rides, also including Oblivion, Nemesis, Thi3teen, Rita and Air.

Winners would have been given the chance to ride them before they were opened to the public and receive an annual pass for Alton Towers.

“Have you got what it takes to test out the Big Six?” a Facebook post said.

“A panel of rollercoaster experts including legendary designer John Wardley will judge the entries, you have until the 12th of June to enter!”

Originally the contest was open to people over the age of 18 but due to “popular request” the age limit was reduced to 14, the BBC reported.

The competition’s web page has since been removed and anyone trying to access it is met with a generic error message.

A spokesperson for Alton Towers said: “In light of yesterday’s incident, the rollercoaster tester competition is no longer running. The entrants will be contacted individually in due course.”

Four riders on The Smiler were hospitalised with serious injuries after accident on Tuesday, including one who may have lost a leg, according to unconfirmed reports.

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An image from the scene showing one of the Smiler's crashed carriages

They were among 16 people in a carriage of the 53mph roller coaster when it rammed into a stationary cart sitting on the track after a test run.

Alton Towers remained closed today after the accident, which was witnessed by horrified onlookers who described “blood everywhere” and filmed trapped passengers screaming in pain and shouting “help us”.

Witnesses said they were told there were “technical issues” with The Smiler and were delayed while it was doing test runs shortly before the crash at 2pm.

Some of the passengers were trapped for more than four hours and the emergency services had to build a platform on the tracks to reach them.

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An ambulance driving past The Smiler after the crash

One person has since been discharged from the Royal Stoke University Hospital and a Health and Safety Executive investigation is underway.

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which owns the park, said the two carriages should not have been on the same piece of track and that a fail-safe “didn't work the way it was supposed to”.

He added: “This has been a terrible incident and a devastating day for everyone here. We have a very strong record of safe operation of our rides here at Alton Towers and it is our priority. 

“I would like to express my sincerest regret and apology to everyone who suffered injury and distress and to their families.”

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