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.
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.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies