Alton Towers owner Merlin back in court over Smiler crash

Rollercoaster crash left two teens needing leg amputations and several othes with serious injuries


Alton Towers owner back in court

Alton Towers operator Merlin is due back in court today over the Smiler rollercoaster crash which left two teenagers needing leg amputations and several other victims with serious injuries.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd has been warned to expect a "very large fine"for health and safety breaches which led to a carriage on the £18 million ride smashing into an empty car.

See also: Alton Towers Smiler should have stayed closed, says crash victim

Several of those left trapped on the ride after the crash in June last year will attend a two-day sentencing hearing at Stafford Crown Court.

Alton Towers Smiler accident

Above: Ian Crabbe, senior general management at Merlin, arrives at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, where the Alton Towers operator indicated a guilty plea to a charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act over the Smiler rollercoaster crash in June last year which left five people seriously injured.

A court hearing in April this year was told Merlin had conducted an internal investigation following the incident, which established that a worker manually "overrode" the ride's governing computer system.

Indicating a guilty plea to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, Merlin's barrister told the previous hearing that the company accepted additional measures could have been taken to guard against safety risks.

Lawyers for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have said the 1.1-kilometre Smiler, which opened in 2013, never had "a proper settled system" for staff to follow when carriages stopped on-track.

World's scariest theme park rides

World's scariest theme park rides