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  3. Merlin Attractions pleads guilty following Smiler crash

The operator behind Alton Towers theme park, Merlin Attractions, has recently pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety laws, which led to a widely publicised rollercoaster crash in 2015.

A judge at Stafford Crown Court heard that the impact of the crash could be compared to 90mph car crash, and that victims had felt “disbelief and horror” just before the impact that would change their lives.

The crash occurred in June 2015, with the Smiler rollercoaster plunging into an empty carriage. The court heard that a fault had developed just before the crash, but an engineer felt under pressure to get the ride back into operation.



According to a report compiled by Stephen Flanagan, the management of Alton Towers used “acceptably low levels of downtime” on rollercoasters as a measure for distributing bonuses. The judge added that a risk assessment and an appropriate system to deal with any ride faults could have prevented the accident.

All 16 people in the carriage had received injuries, with two teenagers each losing a leg as a result. At the start of sentencing, the judge made it clear that the incident was not due to an individual but the lack of a suitable system being put in place by the company. Merlin Attractions was fined £5m under the new sentencing laws.

In addition to the safety of the public, workers at the park should also be provided with any necessary PPE to ensure their safety when working on the rides. 

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