Roller coasters collided on the Alton Towers Smiler ride in Staffordshire, England. Four teenagers were reportedly seriously injured during the roller coaster collision. A Smiler carriage carrying 16 passengers crashed into an empty carriage going about 50 mph.
The Alton Towers theme park ride known as the Smiler is reportedly a 14-hoop roller coaster. The Smiler broke down earlier in the day before the roller coaster cars collided, according to statements made by Staffordshire park visitors.
— AJ Joshi (@AJ) June 2, 2015
Alton Towers operators reportedly sent out empty roller coaster cars to test the Smiler before allowing 16 passengers on the ride. Two teen boys and two teen girls reportedly suffered serious leg injuries in the roller coaster collision.
The roller caster carriage involved in the crash reportedly hit one of the test carriage which reportedly got stopped on a low section of the Smiler track.
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Roller coaster collision rescue efforts are reportedly ongoing. Ambulance and firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene after the Alton Towers Smiler crashed.
Two carriages have crashed into each other on Alton Towers’ Smiler rollercoaster. 16 people injured, four seriously. http://t.co/lbCNLMzQEi
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 2, 2015
“On the second carriage people were screaming and shouting. Even after it had stopped there was screaming and shouting. Everyone was shocked and no-one knew what to do. It was a bit erratic and there was quickly a large crowd there,” Alton Towers park visitor, Ben Richardson, who had been on the Smiler roller coaster earlier in the day, told the media. “When the first carriage stopped and was completely static, the carriage they had got passengers on was at the top of the ride. At that point they could have unloaded the carriage and gotten people away safely. Instead they send the cart around, whether that was computer error or human error, I don’t know. But common sense would say get the passengers off while you can.
“The resort’s fully qualified first responders were on the scene immediately to assist with the evacuation which is ongoing, and the area has been closed to allow for access to emergency services vehicles,” a statement by Alton Towers officials after the Smiler roller coaster crash, said. “To ensure the safe and timely evacuation of guests a platform is being constructed. This will take a few minutes but will enable us to proceed more quickly. There will be a full investigation once we have recovered the guests who are our priority.”
The Alton Towers Smiler roller coaster reportedly opened in May 2013 and has been closed down twice since due to “technical difficulties.” The Smiler has been heralded as the first 14-loop roller coaster in the world and holds the Guinness World Record for “most loops.”
The Smiler roller coaster offers a “series of twisted psychological effects including optical illusions, blinding lights and near-misses designed to mess with your mind,” according to the Alton Towers website.
[Image via: Twitter]