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22nd Apr 2016

Alton Towers owner pleads guilty over Smiler rollercoaster crash

Ellen Tannam

Merlin Entertainments, the owners of theme park Alton Towers is facing a hefty fine after it admitted breaking health and safety laws in relation to the Smiler rollercoaster crash in June 2015.

The Guardian report that the hearing on Friday at North Staffordshire justice centre saw the firm plead guilty and the fine could be ‘in the millions’.

This is going to be the first time that a major UK theme park will have admitted a breach of health and safety laws in court.

16 people were injured in the crash when their carriage collided with an empty one on the Smiler rollercoaster ride in June 2015.

Five people were seriously hurt including two people who had to have their legs amputated as a result of the accident.

The ride re-opened five months after the crash, in November of last year, prompting  an outcry from victims.

The crash was caused by human error, according to the results of an internal investigation that was carried out.

Alton Towers has seen a sharp decline in visitor numbers since June’s collision.