UK
27/09/2015 11:51 BST | Updated 27/09/2015 12:59 BST

Alton Towers Crash Amputee Vicky Balch 'Upset and Insulted' Theme Park Boss Said Park Is Losing Money

A 20-year-old student who had her leg amputated after the Alton Towers Smiler crash said she was "upset and insulted" when the head of the theme park told her they were losing "a lot of money" following June's incident.

Vicky Balch received a visit from the CEO of Merlin Entertainments, which owns the theme park, and was told that the Smiler ride would open "as soon as possible", it has been reported.

Balch was one of four people seriously injured when the carriage she was sitting in crashed into an empty test vehicle on the ride.

alton towers

Alton Towers victim Vicky Blach spent her 20th birthday today hospitalised in a critical condition

She spent her 20th birthday in critical condition in hospital and was one of two passengers who had to undergo a leg amputation following the accident.

Following a visit from Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, Balch told the Sunday Mirror that she was "upset and insulted" when she was told the company was "not making as much money as they used to".

She was also informed that the ride could be reopened if accident investigators lift a prohibition order.

Balch continued: "This has happened to me on their ride so why would they want to reopen it so quickly? It has changed my future. My independence has completely gone and I cry all the time."

The student from Preston, in Lancashire, said it would be "disrespectful" if the ride were to reopen.

She told the Daily Mail: "They weren’t asking our opinion, they were just informing us. I got upset. I knew they’d want to reopen it, but not so quickly."

In July, the Merlin group said that the accident had "an adverse impact on trading at the start of the critical summer period", with profits from its theme park division for 2015 falling to £40-£50 million, from £87 million in 2014.

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The group also said that there might also be "some continued adverse impact" on its theme parks' profits into 2016, saying that the park could take up to 18 months to recover.

Balch's mother, Karen, said she would like to see the ride closed permanently.

Speaking to the Mail, the 51-year-old added: "For them to come and talk about lost profits when they’re looking at a 20-year-old girl who’s lost a leg and had her entire life changed forever is appalling."

Varney said he only spoke about the financial impact of the crash because he was asked about it, the Mirror reports. He also said that the ride would only reopen after "all the necessary safety checks".

Also on The Huffington Post UK:

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