Alton Towers to re-open Smiler rollercoaster after 2015 crash

Theme park say ride will re-open in time for new season

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Alton Towers Smiler accident

Alton Towers has announced it will re-open the Smiler ride, eight months after five people were seriously injured in an accident.

See also: Two members of staff questioned over devastating incident

The controversial ride, which has suffered from safety and technical issues since 2013, will be opened to the public on 19 March.

Two young women each lost a leg when a carriage containing riders collided with an empty one on The Smiler on 2 June 2015.

The crash was the subject of an immediate HSE investigation. The park's owner Merlin Entertainments, who are to be prosecuted over the accident, blamed the accident on human error.

At the time, a Daily Mail investigation claimed to have found that an "an engineer overrode an automatic safety lock, allowing the ride operator to send the carriage full of people careering into an empty vehicle that had 'stalled' further down the track."

Student Leah Washington, 18, had her left leg amputated after the collision, while her boyfriend Joe Pugh, 18, had both knees smashed. Dancer Vicky Balch, 20, also had her right leg amputated below the knee following the incident.

The park was closed for four days and some rides suspended at other attractions following the accident, and visitor numbers to the Staffordshire theme park have dropped since the incident.

Merlin Entertainments, which also owns Legoland, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, is set to appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 22 April.

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