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Alton Towers Owner Due In Court Over The Smiler Rollercoaster Crash

Two people had to undergo leg amputations.

22/04/2016 08:43

The owner of Alton Towers is due to appear in court on Friday following last year's rollercoaster crash, which left five people seriously injured.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd will face an allegation that it breached health and safety rules after two of the victims sustained such serious injuries that they had to undergo leg amputations.

Fabio De Paola/PA Wire
Alton Towers's The Smiler rolercoaster, which has 14 loops.

Merlin Attractions will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme accused of a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Sixteen people were injured when a carriage on The Smiler collided with a stationary carriage on the same track on June 2 last year.

Merlin Attractions is alleged to have breached Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety."

The prosecution has been brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The collision happened on a low section of the ride, which can reach speeds of up to 50mph and has 14 loops.

Those most seriously hurt were Vicky Balch and Daniel Thorpe, from Buxton in Derbyshire, Leah Washington and Joe Pugh, from Barnsley, and Chandaben Chauhan, from Wednesbury, West Midlands.

PA
Vicky Balch speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire programme after having her leg amputated. 

Washington and Balch each lost a leg as a result of their injuries, while Pugh had both kneecaps shattered and Thorpe suffered a collapsed lung.

The 500-acre theme park in Staffordshire was shut for four days following the smash while The Smiler, which is the world's first 14-loop rollercoaster, only reopened in March this year.

In a statement issued after the HSE announced its intention to prosecute in February, Merlin said: "We have co-operated fully with the Health and Safety Executive throughout their investigation while continuing to support those who were injured in the accident.

"The company completed its own investigation and published the results in November, accepting responsibility for what happened. We have also kept the HSE fully informed of the subsequent actions that we have taken to ensure that something like this cannot happen again."

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