Roller coaster accident caused by ‘human error’

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers
The Smiler ride at Alton Towers

The horror crash on The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers which seriously injured five people, including a 20-year-old from Leyland, was caused by “human error”, an investigation has found.

Owner Merlin Entertainments said the ride will reopen next year.

Pictured - Vicky Balch who was injured in the accident at Alton Towers theme park. See Ross Parry copy RPYRIDE. Leah Washington, from Barnsley, has suffered an amputation above the left knee and a fractured left hand. University of North Midlands NHS Trust says she is in a serious but stable condition. Joe Pugh, who was also injured, is in a serious condition and has suffered two broken knees and extensive hand injuries, the Trust says.

Pictured - Vicky Balch who was injured in the accident at Alton Towers theme park. See Ross Parry copy RPYRIDE. Leah Washington, from Barnsley, has suffered an amputation above the left knee and a fractured left hand. University of North Midlands NHS Trust says she is in a serious but stable condition. Joe Pugh, who was also injured, is in a serious condition and has suffered two broken knees and extensive hand injuries, the Trust says.

Sixteen people in total were injured on the ride when the carriage they were in collided with another that had come to a halt on the track on June 2.

One of the people seriously injured in the crash - Vicky Balch, 20, from Leyland - had her left leg amputated after the crash.

A statement from the company said: “The investigation concluded that the incident was the result of human error culminating in the manual override of the ride safety control system without the appropriate protocols being followed.

“The investigation also identified areas where protocols and the training of employees should be improved. There were found to be no technical or mechanical problems with the ride itself.”