Four hurt in rollercoaster crash

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Published: Tuesday 2nd June 2015 by The News Editor

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Four people have been seriously injured in a collision between two carriages on Alton Towers amusement park’s Smiler rollercoaster.

The accident, at around 2.09pm, involved two carriages – one containing 16 passengers and the other empty – which came together on a low section of the track.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “There are 16 patients on board The Smiler requiring triage, four of which have reported serious injuries.

“Ambulance staff and medics are working quickly with resort staff to gain access to the seriously injured.”

Visitors to Alton Towers reported on social media that the ride had broken down earlier today.

Lucy Farrugia said: “Smiler broke down when I was on it this morning and now it’s crashed. Hope everyone on it is OK, saw the air ambulance arrive.”

Danny Simm, a musician and songwriter who is also a radio presenter on 96.5 Bolton FM, who witnessed the aftermath of the accident, said that a number of people appeared to be badly injured.

He tweeted: “People unconscious, knocked out. Blood everywhere. It really was shocking. Air ambulances landing now, people still stuck.”

The £18 million ride, o pened in May 2013, has been closed down twice before because of technical issues.

It is billed as the world’s first 14-loop rollercoaster and holds the official Guiness World Record for most loops, according to the Alton Towers website.

The resort claims that it features “a series of twisted psychological effects including optical illusions, blinding lights and near-misses designed to mess with your mind”.

In July 2013 the Smiler was closed after reports that a bolt was seen to have fallen from the ride.

And in November that year the rollercoaster was closed after plastic guard wheels came loose and hit front row riders.

Today’s accident involved a moving carriage carrying 16 passengers and a stationary carriage which was empty.

An Alton Towers spokeswoman said: “The resort’s fully-qualified first responders were on the scene immediately to assist with the evacuation which is ongoing, and the area has been closed to allow for access to emergency services vehicles.

“To ensure the safe and timely evacuation of guests, a platform is being constructed. This will take a few minutes but will enable us to proceed more quickly.

“There will be a full investigation once we have recovered the guests, who are our priority.”

The Midlands Air Ambulance carrying a trauma doctor on board, four ambulances and several senior paramedic managers have arrived on the scene to deal with potential casualties.

Published: Tuesday 2nd June 2015 by The News Editor

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