Alton Towers is closed today, 3 June 2015, following a terrible accident on its “Smiler” ride on Tuesday 2 June 2015.
The accident occurred when two carriages collided while carrying passengers on the ride. Sixteen people subsequently required medical treatment with four suffering serious ‘life-changing’ injuries. Emergency services were subsequently praised by the chief executive of the park’s owners for their "swift and effective response”.
It is currently unclear how the accident occurred as the carriages were fitted with braking locks that should have prevented two carriages being on the same piece of track at the same time. An investigation is currently underway into the cause of the accident and whether human error was a factor.
In the two years since opening, the ride has suffered a number of problems. Prior to being opened to the public, 16 journalists were trapped on the ride after it broke down. A subsequent breakdown also left passengers stranded on a near vertical section of track. On two occasions, passengers have been injured after being struck by components of the track or carriages falling off during the ride. These incidents have prompted closure of the ride on each occasion.
William Broadbent of Penningtons Manches commented: “It is very sad that a day of fun has turned to tragedy for the passengers involved and we wish them a speedy recovery.
“Theme parks and their rides carry significant potential dangers although incidents such as this are fortunately very rare. Alton Towers itself has a very good record for safety. But something has gone badly wrong on this occasion and we hope that a Health and Safety Executive investigation will uncover the cause of the accident – not only for those injured and their families but also for the theme park so that it can prevent further accidents.
“Theme parks owe a duty of care to their visitors to try to ensure that they are safe when enjoying the parks and the rides. Obviously, the nature of the activity means that there is some element of risk to them but the park must ensure that these are minimised.”
If you have been injured as a result of an accident at a theme park, you may potentially have a claim. For free advice, please call 01483 791 800.