Four flagship rides will be closed at Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, and Thorpe Park “for the foreseeable future” after a serious accident earlier this week, it has been announced.
Merlin Entertainments, which owns the three parks, said it had been reviewing safety procedures on rides and was cooperating with a Health and Safety Executive probe.
The Smiler at Alton Towers, where Tuesday’s incident occurred, will be closed indefinitely.
Saw at Thorpe Park as well as Dragon’s Fury and Rattlesnake at Chessington World of Adventures will also be closed.
The latter two rides will be reinstated once new protocols have been applied, but Smiler and Saw are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
“Since the accident at Alton Towers Resort on Tuesday afternoon Merlin Entertainments has been engaged in a thorough review and investigation of the events that led up to the incident and of its safety and operating processes,” the group said in a statement.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are co-operating fully with the Health & Safety Executive. The safety of our visitors is our fundamental priority. We have a strong safety record at Alton Towers and across the Merlin Group.
“Today we are enhancing our safety standards by issuing an additional set of safety protocols and procedures that will reinforce the safe operation of our multi-car roller coasters.
“These are effective immediately. Each rollercoaster has its own individual operating process and characteristics. Our central safety management team, together with local Park operations, will now work to implement and brief operating staff on these protocols."
Alton Towers, which is currently closed, will reopen in the next few days.
The best roller coasters in the world
The best roller coasters in the world
1/9 Millennium Force, USA
Breaking six world records when it was built in 2000, Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Ontario, United States, was briefly the tallest and fastest coaster in the world before Steel Dragon 2000. Millennium Force was also the world’s first Giga Coaster, exceeding 300 feet in height. Website: https://www.cedarpoint.com/ Ticket cost: £29.24
2/9 Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi
Formula One fans looking to experience the thrill of high-speed manoeuvres need look no further than Formula Rossa, currently the world’s fastest roller coaster, located at Ferrari Word in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Once strapped in to the Ferrari “Rosso Scuderia” F1 inspired cockpit, riders experience an incredible top speed of 150mph, accompanied by acceleration G-Force of 1.7Gs. In order to accelerate to top speed in under five seconds, the ride uses a hydraulic launch system similar to those used to launch jets from aircraft carriers. The ride is so fast riders are required to wear safety goggles. Website: http://www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com/en-gb.aspx Entry cost: £38.18
3/9 Kingda Ka, USA
Currently the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka reaches an impressive height of 456 feet. The roller coaster, found at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, in the United States, used to be the world’s fastest roller coaster, reaching 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, before it lost that record to Formula Rossa in 2010. After a 90° rise to the top, riders then plummet down a 270 ° spiral drop. Website: https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure Entry cost: £24.54
4/9 Colossos, Germany
The world’s tallest wooden roller coaster, Colossos in Heide Park, Germany, stretches 196 feet into the air. It is constructed using laser cut wood, which means the entire structure snaps together like pieces of Lego. Due to this, the wooden track gives a very smooth ride. Website: http://www.heide-park.de/en/heide-park/ Entry cost: £25.45
5/9 Steel Dragon 2000, Japan
Named after the Chinese New Year in 2000, Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Lad amusement park in Mie Prefecture, Japan, holds the record for the longest roller coaster in the world. Boasting a track length of 8,133 feet, it’s also the sixth fastest coaster in the world. Built in Japan, the coaster needed extra earthquake protection, pushing construction costs over $50 million. Website: http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/index.html/ Ticket cost: £5.74
6/9 Takabisha, Japan
Famous for having a drop angle of 121°, Takabisha, located at the Fuji-Q Highland theme park in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan, is the steepest roller coaster in the world. The drop angle is known as a “beyond vertical” drop as riders travel back on themselves as they fly over the vertical lift and down the drop. Website: http://www.fujiq.jp/en/ Ticket cost: 5.74
7/9 Top Thrill Dragster, USA
Before being surpassed by Kingda Ka, Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, United States, was the world’s tallest roller coaster. Along with Kingda Ka, Top Thrill Dragster is one of two Strata Coaster types of roller coaster, featuring a drop of 400 feet and a full circuit. Reaching speeds of 120 mph in less than four seconds, Top Thrill Dragster may last only 17 seconds, but it’s sure to thrill. Website: https://www.cedarpoint.com/ Entry cost: £29.18
8/9 Space Mountain, USA
A clear fan favourite, Space Mountain, at Disney World, California, takes visitors on a rocket ride through stars, galaxies and asteroids. The ride is replicated across all five Magic Kingdom-style Disney Parks, so there’s no excuse to miss it. Website: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/ Entry cost: £56.15
This one’s a bit of a cheat because the ride isn’t actually completed yet, but Skyscraper at Orlando’s International Drive is planned to be the world’s tallest roller coaster in the world with a 570 foot tower. Riders will catch an elevator to the top of the structure before following the winding track down at 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the ride won’t be completed until 2016, but there’s still plenty of time to get excited.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin, said the experience had been devastating for everyone involved.
“This has been a terrible experience for everyone involved and one we sincerely regret. Our thoughts remain with those who were seriously injured and we are doing everything we can to support them through this difficult time,” he said in a statement.
“It is an accident that should not have happened, and we are determined that it will never happen again. Whilst the investigation into the causes is continuing, we have identified a series of additional safety protocols that we are implementing immediately across our multi-car rollercoasters.
“These will act as an additional safeguard to further strengthen our operating and safety standards. This has been a devastating experience, and we are committed to learning the lessons from it."
Four people were seriously injured in Tuesday’s crash at Alton towers, which left 16 passengers stranded on-board for four and a half hours.
Two men aged 27 and 18 and two women aged 19 and 17 suffered serious leg injuries when two carriages collided on the Smiler ride.Reuse content