Alton Towers Remains Closed After ‘Smiler’ Crash, One Teenager In Critical Condition
One teenager remains in a critical condition after the “Smiler” accident at Alton Towers earlier this week. The park will remain closed over the weekend while investigators still try to determine the cause of the accidents. Rides around the country have also closed, due to fear that they are no longer safe.
According to British newspaper the Independent, 19-year-old Vicky Balch is incritical condition. She was one of the four passengers at the front of the carriage when it crashed into the back of an empty carriage. The empty carriage had been left on the track after a test run, due to the ride suffering from technical difficulties throughout the day. She was on a date with 27-year-old Daniel Thorpe, and they were sitting near Joe Pugh and Leah Washington, 18 and 17, respectively. All were seriously injured.
The lawyers for one of the teenagers is expected to file for civil and criminal prosecutions. Paul Paxton, a Stewarts Law partner, says that the family is currently focusing on Vicky’s wellbeing and is awaiting the result of the investigation.
Rollercoasters across Britain have been closed after the Alton Towers crash, where 16 people were injured in total. “Rattle Snake” and “Dragon’s Fury” from Chessington World of Adventures and “Saw” from Thorpe Park will close. All three of these parks are run by Merlin Entertainment Group, and all rides were designed and manufactured by German companies Gerstlauer and Maurer. There is the risk that all rides have dangerous faults. Staff will be given further training to ensure accidents like the one at Alton Towers do not happen again. This is despite not knowing yet whether the accident was a human error or technical problem.
There are also questions over whether Alton Towers will close the “Smiler” permanently. It cost a reported £18 million to manufacture, and many theme park fans say that it should remain open. However, one victim of the crash says that it should be closed after the crash, especially considering the ride has been closed on two occasions in the past due to safety issues.
The Merlin Group issued the following statement after the accident.
“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 rollercoasters. These are effective immediately.
“The Smiler and Saw, a similar ride at Thorpe Park, have been closed since the accident and will stay closed for the foreseeable future.”
The Telegraph reports that Alton Towers is losing £500,000 per day by remaining closed, and possibly more closing over the weekend. However, the safety of visitors is more important, and all safety standards will be enhanced while the investigation continues. There is no confirmation as to when Alton Towers will open again, but it will remain closed until the Health and Safety Executive is happy that the park is safe.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]