From Smiles to Screams

The nightmare is relived again as new footage has been released this week, during the court hearing, showing the infamous tragedy at Alton Towers in June 2015. The video shows two carriages of the ironically-called, Smiler, colliding, as screams and cries for help override all other external noise. The collision involved a moving carriage full of people and an empty stationary one. Both carriages were left travelling together around the rollercoaster until help could be provided; a good while later due to the inaccessibility to the site of the crash.

The well-known tragedies of the incident include two amputees, Vicky Balch and Leah Washington, and fourteen injured, several of whom appeared at court throughout the hearing which began on Monday 26th September.

The mistake appears to be an engineering problem, through which, once the stationary carriage, having been sent on a test-run, stopped, the program was over-rode and continued to send another carriage around the attraction, one full with 16 passengers.

Merlin, the engineering company, is thus believed to be at fault. Had greater precaution been taken, perhaps such a catastrophe would not have occurred. The sentence which took place on Tuesday 27th September gave a £5 million fine for the company; arguably a small price to pay given the company’s turnover of around £400 million.

We all look to theme parks for adventure and adrenaline; for the victims here however, their anticipations and their fears became a reality.




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