The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Alton Towers Accident - HSE Investigating

05 June 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970
 

An accident at the ‘Smiler’ rollercoaster at Alton Towers in Staffordshire has led to the facility being closed as inspectors from HSE investigate the causes.

A number of HSE inspectors have been specially trained to form its National Fairground Inspection Team.

The team investigating this incident at Alton Towers is being supported on site by specialists in mechanical engineering, electrics and control systems from HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, Derbyshire.

 


 

Closure indefinite

The HSE has been at the site to investigate what happened and has stated that the park will remain closed until it is satisfied. “We will want to determine that those responsible for operating this ride have done what the law requires,” explained Neil Craig, Head of Operations, HSE Midlands. “We will also ensure that if there are any lessons to be learned they are shared as soon as possible. Although the investigation is in its early stages, we will take action to protect the public if we uncover evidence that could affect the safety of other rides at the park or elsewhere.

“We have assembled a team of specialist inspectors and technical investigators and they will be on site today to continue our investigation.


 

What happened

Four people with serious injuries were treated at the scene and transferred to hospital. Twelve others involved were fully evacuated by 18.35 and the emergency services and Alton Towers’ care team were on hand to look after them. Of these, one other was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure and has now been discharged.

Despite the claim by Alton Towers that there had been a quick response to the incident, criticism has been leveled at the fact that the event occurred in the first place, when two carriages – one apparently empty – collided on the £18 million rollercoaster.

People were trapped 25ft (7.6m up) at an angle of 45 degrees for up to four-and-a-half hours. It is alleged that it took 11 minutes before a 999 emergency call was made. One person interviewed by ITN stated that, prior to the collision, he had brought to the attention the empty carriage and was told to mind his own business. It had been sent around after a technical hitch had seen problems with the rollercoaster’s operation.

Speaking for Alton Towers, Nick Varney, CEO, Merlin Entertainments, owner of Alton Towers Resort, stated: “This has been a terrible incident and a devastating day for everyone here. We have a very strong record of safe operation of our rides here at Alton Towers and it is our priority. 

 

Knock on effects

Alton Towers is losing an estimated £500,000 and 20,000 visitors a day as a consequence of the collision but the impact on the local economy is already apparent.

Nearby restaurants, shops and accommodation have been hit badly with cancellations while Alton Towers is closed but also from the bad publicity.

According to the BBC Lynn Phoenix, owner of Bank House B&B in nearby Alton, said guests had already cancelled bookings for July and August following the crash. A spokeswoman for Londis stores said “there was almost no passing trade in the village”.

Picture: Alton Towers has remained closed for three days while the HSE investigates the rollercoaster collision that left 16 people injured.

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 05 June 2015

Share


Related Tags


Related Articles

Put That Fag Out - Hospital Shouts At Rogue Smokers

One hospital has come up with a novel way of discouraging smokers having a crafty drag outside their doors - shouting at them over a Tannoy. 'Loud & Clear...

 Read Full Article
Making EV Accessible - BP Agrees Chargemaster Charge

June 28 saw BP enter into an agreement to purchase Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging company. Chargemaster operates the UK’s largest...

 Read Full Article
The Rights and Wrongs Of Prohibition Notices

The Supreme Court has recently decided that where a Prohibition Notice is served and subsequently found to be unfounded, the Notice can be rescinded or modified but the...

 Read Full Article
NHS Trusts In The Dock - Legionella and Lone Worker Fatality Convictions

Royal United Hospitals (Bath) NHS Foundation Trust has (in week ending December 15) pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act...

 Read Full Article
How The Mighty Fall - HSE Issued With Crown Censure

In something of a bitter irony, the Health and Safety Executive has avoided justice because of its status and  has instead accepted a Crown Censure after a worker at...

 Read Full Article
THINK! Drink

Tell your friends not to drink drive this festive period says the latest THINK! campaign which started on December 7. For this year’s campaign, which runs to...

 Read Full Article
Patience Must Prevail in UK Air Pollution Plight

Amid a recent flurry of headlines around air pollution in the UK, Bureau Veritas has been quick to assert that patience must prevail as there are many major challenges to...

 Read Full Article
Coughing-up On Ill Health

Almost half of Britain’s industry leaders do not feel enough is being done across industry to tackle cases of work-related ill-health, according to research from...

 Read Full Article
Massive Fine & Jail Sentences After Horrific Fatality

A recycling company has been fined £880,000 and two people have been given suspended prison sentenced after the death of an agency worker who was drawn into...

 Read Full Article
A Passport To Safety

Highways England has announced the new Health and Safety Passport scheme at the national Highways UK conference, held in Birmingham on November 8 With an ambition to...

 Read Full Article