Alton Towers rollercoaster crash: Could The Smiler ride be scrapped?

Theme park will remain closed as bosses investigate crash

Updated: 
Four Hurt In Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash

Alton Towers is set to remain closed until the cause of the crash that left four people seriously injured has been discovered.

The confirmation of the closure until the investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is complete comes amid rumours the ride in question, The Smiler, could be pulled down.

Alton Towers Boss: We Are Devastated by the Crash


According to the Telegraph, Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which runs the resort, wrote in The Sun on Thursday: "At this point I don't know if it was a technological or a human error.

"We want to know if this issue is isolated to The Smiler. We can't open again until we're sure."

Sixteen people were hurt when two carriages collided on the £18 million rollercoaster.

Four people were seriously injured, including two men aged 27 and 18, and two women, aged 19 and 17.

It is believed one victim may have lost a leg, with witnesses describing seeing "blood everywhere".

The names of the victims are Vicky Balch and her boyfriend Daniel Thorpe, 27, and another couple, Joe Pugh, 18, and Leah Washington, 17.

Joe is thought to have broken both legs, while Leah also suffered horrific injuries, reports the Mirror.

Four Hurt In Alton Towers Rollercoaster Crash


Meanwhile, it has been reported that the owner of Alton Towers is estimated to have racked up just under £1.5 million in lost revenue over the three days since the rollercoaster crash.

Analysts estimate every day the 500-acre theme park in Staffordshire remains closed costs parent group Merlin Entertainments a little under £500,000.

Alton Towers, which also has two hotels, is understood to have generated around £110 million of revenues last year for the group.

Shares in Merlin have fallen just over 2.6% since the accident happened on Tuesday, wiping around £100 million off its stock market value.

Merlin is one of the biggest leisure and attraction groups in the world, and in the UK it owns Madame Tussauds, Legoland Parks, Thorpe Park, London Eye and Warwick Castle.

In total the business runs 100 attractions in 22 countries, including Japan, Dubai, Italy and Germany.

The group floated on the stock market in 2013 and has a market valuation of £4.5 billion.

However, Panmure Gordon analyst Anna Barnfather said the incident has come at a crucial time for the theme park, at the start of its busy summer season.

She said June accounts for around 10% of the theme park's annual revenues, while the key months of July and August make up a combined 35% of sales across the year.

Ms Barnfather added: "The concern is that this accident will have a knock-on effect in terms of fewer people coming to the park at the height of the summer season."

But Ms Barnfather said she believed that the theme park's reputation has not been damaged beyond repair, however.

She said: "Alton Towers will have a bad year this year, but the history of these sorts of incidents show that after a period of proper testing, visitors tend to come back 12 months later."


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