Alton Towers rollercoaster crash victim Victoria Balch has more 'life-changing' surgery

Victoria Balch, 20, was one of four injured on the 'Smiler' ride

Caroline Mortimer
Sunday 07 June 2015 12:24
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Victoria Balch, 20, was one of four injured on the 'Smiler' ride on Tuesday afternoon
Victoria Balch, 20, was one of four injured on the 'Smiler' ride on Tuesday afternoon

A student who suffered "life changing" injuries in the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash has undergone more surgery.

Victoria Balch, from Leyland in Lancashire, is not thought to be in a life-threatening condition as previously reported.

Balch, who turned 20 yesterday, was among four people who suffered serious injuries after two carriages on the Smiler rollercoaster collided at the theme park in Staffordshire on Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement released by her lawyers, Stewarts Law, it was said that the student and her family were grateful for all the messages of goodwill they had received.

Paul Paxton, a partner at Stewarts Law, said they had also contacted the Health and Safety Executive about possible legal action.

He said: “We have contacted the Health and Safety Executive and hope to be able to discuss with Merlin’s insurers and their legal team as early as next week.”

An ambulance driving past The Smiler after the crash

Meanwhile, Alton Towers has been closed for a fifth day on Sunday. Park staff confirmed on Saturday that the park would remain shut until at least next week.

Guests with pre-booked tickets have the option to use them at an alternative attraction or can obtain a full refund.

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

The 14-loop Smiler ride has been given a prohibition notice- a legally enforced ban- forcing it to remain closed until action is taken to fix the problems that lead to the crash.

Merlin Entertainments, which owns Alton Towers, has also shut down three rollercoasters at its other parks in Surrey, The Saw ride in Thorpe Park and the Dragon’s Fury and Rattlesnake rollercoasters in Chessington World of Adventures, in response to the accident.

Alongside Balch, the other people who were seriously injured in the crash were Joe Pugh, 18, and his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, who were admitted to hospital with "serious leg injuries" and Daniel Thorpe, 27, whose father reported on social media that he had suffered a collapsed lung and fractured leg.

The Health and Safety Executive has launched an investigation into the crash and whether ride operators were acting within the law, according to the Guardian.

Additional reporting by the Press Association

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