Alton Towers ‘Smiler’ Crash Leads To Severe Injuries: Did Ride Open Despite ‘Technical Errors’?

Toni Matthews - Author
By

Nov. 3 2016, Updated 4:37 a.m. ET

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A roller coaster crash at Alton Towers resulted in four serious injuries and a terrifying experience for nearly a dozen amusement park attendees. The most frustrating aspect of the incident at Alton Towers seems to be that it was entirely unnecessary. Prior to the crash, the ride known as “The Smiler” suffered various glitches. It was, in fact, previously closed to riders so that technical issues could be addressed.

The decision to re-open it so soon to the public has infuriated members of the public.

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According to the Telegraph, the ride was carrying more than a dozen people when it collided suddenly with an empty carriage, which witnesses say resulted in an ugly “bang.” The collision caused serious leg injuries to two men and two women — other passengers were bloodied or knocked unconscious. An Alton Towers staff member reportedly informed the press that one of the more severely injured riders lost a leg.

Witness Lucy Walters gave her account of the crash to BBC News.

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“The people within the cars were terrified and screaming and shouting at us for help.

It was a good ten minutes before a member of Alton Towers staff approached the passenger on the car. By this point, blood was beginning to drop down onto the floor below.”

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Danny Simm, a musician and radio broadcaster, tweeted his account of the Alton Towers roller coaster crash. “After today at Alton Towers,” said Simm, “I’m never getting on a roller coaster again.”

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It took nearly three hours for all of the passengers to be freed of the damaged Alton Towers ride. TheDaily Mail reported that it was nearly 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday evening when the evacuation finally ended. With riders sent to hospitals to address injuries, it is inevitable that a search for blame would begin. Members of the public wouldn’t have to look far — the news emerged that ahead of the roller coaster crash the ride had suffered various technical issues.

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Merlin Entertainment (which owns the ride) chief executive Nick Varney stated that an investigation was launched into the incident. Varney notes that two carriages were not supposed to be on the same track. He also said that there were supposed to be working fail-safes to prevent a possible collision, but they failed to operate as planned. The chief executive pointed out that “The Smiler” was still a relatively new ride.

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“All rides have ‘teething problems’ when they open.”

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He also doubted the witness accounts that it took 10 minutes to reach passengers stranded on the Alton Towers ride.

[Image Credit: SoAngelic]

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