£5m fine for Alton Towers

£5m fine for Alton Towers

Merlin Attractions, the owner of Alton Towers, have been fined £5 million over the accident on The Smiler ride, which saw two people on the attraction having leg amputations, and fourteen other injuries.

The company admitted to offences concerning health and safety at Stafford Crown Court.

At the hearing, the court heard that an engineer had 'felt pressure' to get The Smiler ride in action before the crash.

Paul Paxton, a lawyer for eight of the victims, said on the steps outside the court: "The court have imposed what we believe is a record fine for the industry but, of course, money alone will never replace limbs or heal the psychological scars."

"It's worth remembering that this hearing is the first time many of my clients have heard the full extent of the criticism against Merlin."

"They have been shocked and disappointed by the catalogue of errors - a catastrophic failure to assess risk, inadequate training, inadequate management, failures to communicate, failure to put into place safety systems at work."

"This is about making sure that lessons have been learned, not just by Merlin but by others throughout the industry."

In the court, Judge Michael Chambers QC said the accident was not human error, as Merlin had originally stated.

The judge said that is was a "catastrophic failure" by Merlin, and that the "obvious shambles of what occurred" could have been "easily avoided" if they'd introduced a system to deal with such faults, and proper risk assessments.

"This was a needless and avoidable accident in which those injured were fortunate not to have been killed or bled to death."

"Those in the front row bore the brunt of the collision and had their legs crushed in the tangled steel."

The company assured the court that they'd learned their lesson from the whole thing, and that new systems and measures are in place.

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