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Alton Towers crash ride reopens

Alton Towers rollercoaster Smiler has reopened, eight months after 20-year-old Vicky Balch lost a leg when it crashed.

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Miss Balch described the decision to reopen the ride to the public this weekend as "inappropriate and insensitive".

The owner of Alton Towers is to be prosecuted over crash in which five people were seriously injured, the Health and Safety Executive announced last month.

Today social media users reported "enthusiastic" crowds queued to get a ride on Smiler.


Smiler crash survivors present cheque to Midlands Air Ambulance

Two people who were seriously injured on the Smiler rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers last year have handed over a cheque to the Midlands Air Ambulance.

Leah Washington and Joe Pugh presented the cheque for more than £8701.10 to the service which helped save their lives after the crash last year.

The couple suffered severe leg injuries in the crash, with Leah having to have a leg amputated.

Three other passengers were also seriously injured.

  1. Chris Halpin

Smiler crash survivors criticise ride’s reopening

A woman who lost her leg in the Alton Towers Smiler rollercoaster crash has accused the park of putting money before the people affected by the accident in its decision to reopen the ride tomorrow.

Vicky Balch was one of five passengers seriously injured in the crash on The Smiler last June.

Leah Washington also lost a leg and Joe Pugh, her boyfriend, shattered his knees. Both say they don't want to see the ride operating again. Alton Towers says the accident was caused by human error, and that the Smiler has been certified as safe. Chris Halpin reports.


  1. Chris Halpin

Alton Towers prepares to launch Galactica rollercoaster

Alton Towers has revamped the ride known as AIR into the world's first rollercoaster to take passengers into space with virtual reality headsets.

The park has invested millions in the new ride, Galactica, however bosses say they will have to rebuild its visitors' trust when it reopens this weekend for the season.

The theme park was temporarily closed last year, after its flagship ride the Smiler crashed leaving four visitors with life-changing injuries. Visitor numbers also suffered and in September they announced they would cut 190 jobs. Chris Halpin reports.

Alton Towers confirms Smiler to reopen in March

The Smiler rollercoaster has been closed since June last year after a crash injured 16 people. Credit: ITV News Central

Alton Towers has confirmed its flagship roller coaster the Smiler will reopen on March 19.

The controversial ride has been closed since the worst accident in the theme park's history, in which 16 people were injured.

Two female passengers had to go through leg amputations after their carriage collided with a stationary car on the same section of track on the ride at the attraction in Staffordshire on June 2nd.

A subsequent investigation by the park found the accident was caused by 'human error'.

Last week the Health & Safety Executive announced it would be prosecuting the owners of the park, Merlin Entertainments, over the accident last June.

Bosses are due to appear at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre in April.

Alton Towers face prosecution over Smiler coaster crash

The owner of Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire is to be prosecuted over a rollercoaster crash which left five people with life changing injuries.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd will appear in court in April accused of breaching health and safety law.

The announcement by the Health and Safety Executive came on the same day the company announced a rise in profits. Chris Halpin reports.

Alton Towers statement over Smiler HSE prosecution

General view of the Smiler roller coaster in operation. Credit: ITV News Central

Responding to the announcement that the Health & Safety Executive will be prosecuting Alton Towers over last year's crash on the Smiler roller coaster, a spokesperson for the theme park said:

“We have cooperated fully with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) throughout their investigation while continuing to support those who were injured in the accident.

The company completed its own investigation and published the results in November, accepting responsibility for what happened. We have also kept the HSE fully informed of the subsequent actions that we have taken to ensure that something like this cannot happen again.”

– Alton Towers statement
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