Alton Towers fined £5 millon for Smiler rollercoaster crash

Alton Towers fined £5 millon for Smiler rollercoaster crash

Alton Towers, owned by Merlin Entertainments, has been fined £5 million for the Smiler rollercoaster crash which injured 16 people in June 2015.

Judge Michael Chambers QC described the incident as a "needless and avoidable accident in which those who were injured were lucky not to be killed".

The crash was exacerbated by the design which left them hanging for four to five hours waiting for emergency services to rescue them.

The Judge said at Stafford Crown Court: "It has rightly been the focus of much public interest, they operate on a high duty if public care. Merlin fell far short of standards."

Merlin admitted charges of breaching the Health and Safety Act in April.

Health and Safety Executive head of operations for the Midlands, Neil Craig, said outside the court: "When people visit theme parks they should be able to enjoy themselves safely.

"Merlin failed to protect their customers. They let them badly down. It is right they have been held to account for those failings in a criminal court.

"This avoidable incident happened because Merlin failed to put in place systems that would allow their engineers to work safely while the ride was running."

Alton Towers, owned by Merlin Entertainments, has been fined £5 million for the Smiler rollercoaster crash which injured 16 people in June 2015.

Judge Michael Chambers QC described the incident as a "needless and avoidable accident in which those who were injured were lucky not to be killed".

The crash was exacerbated by the design which left them hanging for four to five hours waiting for emergency services to rescue them.

The Judge said at Stafford Crown Court: "It has rightly been the focus of much public interest, they operate on a high duty if public care. Merlin fell far short of standards."

Merlin admitted charges of breaching the Health and Safety Act in April.

Health and Safety Executive head of operations for the Midlands, Neil Craig, said outside the court: "When people visit theme parks they should be able to enjoy themselves safely.

"Merlin failed to protect their customers. They let them badly down. It is right they have been held to account for those failings in a criminal court.

"This avoidable incident happened because Merlin failed to put in place systems that would allow their engineers to work safely while the ride was running."

Merlin Entertainments chief executive, Nick Varney, said outside the court: “From the beginning the company has accepted full responsibility for the terrible accident at Alton Towers and has made sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who were injured. I repeat those sentiments here today as we did in court yesterday.

“In accepting responsibility and liability very early on we have tried to make the healing and compensation process as trouble free as possible for all of those involved.

“We have strived to fulfil our promise to support them in every way and I promise that this support will continue as long as they need it.

“We were always aware that we would end up here today facing a substantial penalty, as has been delivered by the court today.

“However, Alton Towers - and indeed the wider Merlin Group - are not emotionless corporate entities.

“They are made up of human beings who care passionately about what they do. In this context, the far greater punishment for all of us is knowing that on this occasion we let people down with devastating consequences.

“It is something we will never forget and it is something we are utterly determined will never be repeated. ”

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