Alton Towers rollercoaster crash: Theme park to remain closed as Smiler ride accident is investigated

Alton Towers is estimated to have lost £1.5 million over the last three days

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 05 June 2015 09:37
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Alton Towers will remain closed on Friday 5 June following a rollercoaster crash that left four people with serious leg injuries.

An Alton Towers spokeswoman confirmed a decision had been taken to keep the park closed tomorrow as Health and Saftey Executive (HSE) remain on site.

He added: "Anybody with pre-booked tickets for Alton Towers tomorrow will be able to visit Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle or Legoland Windsor as an alternative."

Investigations are currently taking place into how the accident occurred. Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, previously said the park could only reopen once the investigation had concluded but did not provide a time frame.

Alton Towers is estimated to have lost £1.5 million in three days – around £500,000 per day – while shares in Merlin Entertainments, which runs the resort, dropped 3 per cent on the FTSE 100.

18-year-old Joe Pugh, who was in the carriage with his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, tweeted today that he had been "overwhelmed" by the response he had had following the accident.

John Pugh, 18, and Leah Washington, 17, both from Barnsley, were on the Smiler ride on Tuesday 2 June when their carriage collided with a stationary car on the track

Read more: Teenage couple among seriously injured in Alton Towers crash
Alton Towers closed after horror crash raises safety questions

Washington is said to have been given a blood transfusion and morphine before she passed out following the collision.

Witnesses said the ride had experienced technical difficulties earlier in the day, with some claiming that the empty cart involved in the crash had been on a test run when it came to stop.

Alton Towers amusement park's Smiler rollercoaster, showing an injured passenger (centre right) after four people were seriously injured in a collision between two carriages

Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands, said that a specialist team of inspectors were at the scene in Staffordshire making inquiries.

He added: "Our role is to establish the facts. We will want to determine that those responsible for operating this ride have done what the law requires. We will also ensure that if there are any lessons to be learned, they are shared as soon as possible.

"Although the investigation is in its early stages, we will take action to protect the public if we uncover evidence that could affect the safety of other rides at the park or elsewhere."

Additional reporting by PA

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