UPDATED: Smiler crash at Alton Towers was caused by 'human error', theme park's owner says

The Smiler rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers in which five people were seriously injured was caused by human error, the theme park's owner has said.

By Louise Cooper
Tuesday, 24th November 2015, 4:09 pm
The Smiler crash was caused by human error, Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has said.
The Smiler crash was caused by human error, Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has said.

Two carriages on the ride collided on June 2 this year, leaving a number of people injured. Among them was Daniel Thorpe from Buxton, who suffered leg and chest injuries, and Vicky Balch, from Leyland in Lancashire, and Leah Washington, of Barnsley - both of whom lost a leg in the crash.

The ride has been closed since the accident but Merlin Entertainments, who own Alton Towers and who have now said that human error was to blame for the accident, are planning to re-open it next year.

* What do you think? Do you think it's right to re-open the Smiler ride? Take our poll here - http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/live/event?1403197

Sixteen people in total were injured on the ride when the carriage they were in collided with another that had come to a halt on the track.

A statement from the company said: “The investigation concluded that the incident was the result of human error culminating in the manual override of the ride safety control system without the appropriate protocols being followed.

“The investigation also identified areas where protocols and the training of employees should be improved. There were found to be no technical or mechanical problems with the ride itself.

"Immediately following the incident, the theme park implemented a number of improved safety measures across all multi-car rollercoasters to ensure that an incident of this nature can never happen again.

"On re-opening, The Smiler ride will also incorporate an extensive set of new safety measures, including technical improvements and enhanced training. An additional level of authorisation will also be added to the existing supervisory protocols to ensure that no manual override process may be completed without a senior member of staff authorising and being in attendance.

"The technical improvements include multiple additional CCTV cameras and additional manual reset buttons around the track which require staff to inspect each individual section to verify it is clear before authorisation can be given to restart the ride."

Earlier this month Merlin said the accident would cost 190 jobs at the site.