Alton Towers Crash Smiler Ride 'May Never Reopen' As Victims Get First Payouts

Victims of the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash have received their first insurance payments, as it emerged that the theme park's Smiler ride where they suffered life-changing injuries may never open again.

A law firm acting for some of the park visitors in the crash- one of whom lost a leg - said that the £18 million ride could remain permanently closed after the disaster.

Paul Paxton of Stewarts Law said: "The ride is likely to remain closed for a significant period of time; indeed it may never open again," Sky News reported.

17-year-old Leah Washington had to have her leg amputated above the knee following the crash

Passengers were trapped at a sharp angle while waiting to be rescued

Meanwhile interim insurance payments have been released to help with the rehabilitation of those injured when two carriages of the The Smiler collided, the law firm representing them said.

Stewarts Law is acting on behalf of Joe Pugh, 18, Vicky Balch, 20, 17-year-old Leah Washington, and five others.

Miss Washington had to have a leg amputated after the crash on June 2, and in an earlier statement, her lawyer said she could receive a payout worth millions.

Paul Paxton, head of personal injury at Stewarts Law, and the families of those affected also met the Health and Safety Inspectorate.

Referring to this, Mr Paxton said: "The families are satisfied that no expense is being spared in the investigation into what caused the accident on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers.

"The Health and Safety Inspectorate made it clear that the requisite multi-disciplinary expertise was in place.

"The families are reassured that every angle is being thoroughly covered."

Vicky Balch was seriously hurt

Miss Balch, from Lancashire, was sitting in the front seats alongside Miss Washington, her boyfriend Mr Pugh - who shattered a knee, and Daniel Thorpe, 27, a hotel assistant-manager from Buxton in Derbyshire who was treated for a collapsed lung and fractured leg.

Chandaben Chauhan, 49, of Wednesbury, West Midlands, also suffered injuries.

Merlin Entertainments is thought to have racked up losses of around £500,000 a day while the theme park was closed in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

The park reopened but Smiler remains closed

It has also faced accusations that staff dithered for 10 minutes before making the first 999 call, despite screams of distress from bloodied passengers on board The Smiler.

A total of 16 people were injured when the carriage they were in collided with an empty one that had come to a halt on the track ahead of them.