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Merlin Fined £5m Over Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash

Posted: 18/10/2016

Merlin, the owner of Alton Towers, has been handed a record fine of £5 million following the Smiler rollercoaster crash that took place on June 2nd 2015 and which left five people with life-changing injuries and others seriously hurt.

Over two days, Stafford Crown Court heard that the crash could be likened to a 90mph car accident, with the victims left waiting for almost an hour up in the air before paramedics were able to access the rollercoaster, the Guardian reports.

Judge Michael Chambers QC described Merlin Attractions Operations' safety procedures as being a shambles and woefully inadequate, adding that two passengers - who both lost a leg - were lucky not to have bled to death in the four or five hours they were actually trapped on the ride.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that a number of errors resulted in members of staff overriding a safety warning, when one of the empty test carriages got stuck on the ride during high winds. It was believed - mistakenly - that the safety warning was a false alarm, leading to the next carriage with people on it crashing into the test truck at high speed.

Earlier this month (September), the Smiler ride was affected once again, with people on it stuck in mid-air for over half an hour following an emergency stop. A spokesperson from the theme park confirmed that no one was hurt and the ride was evacuated safely.

For organisations that operate in a high risk environment, it is essential that you sustain the highest levels of health and safety and operate an effective disaster response policy, so you know you can handle any incident when it occurs. If you need help in this regard, call us at HFR Solutions CIC today.