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Alton Towers Operator Merlin Fined £5m Over Smiler Crash

Alton Towers operator Merlin has been fined £5m for the crash on the Smiler rollercoaster.
Sixteen people were injured in the crash last June, including two teenage girls who needed leg amputations.

In April, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted breaching the Health and Safety Act.
The theme park originally said the accident was caused by “human error.” But prosecutors argued the fault was with the employer not individuals.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Chambers QC described the crash on the £18m attraction as a “catastrophic failure” and said human error was not the cause as was suggested at first.

“This was a needless and avoidable accident in which those who were injured were lucky not to be killed,” he said.
He said the crash was foreseeable but accepted the defendant had taken full and extensive steps to remedy the problems that led to the crash.

The court had heard on Monday how engineers failed to notice a carriage that had stopped midway around the 14-loop ride .

They assumed there was a problem with the computer and over-rode the stop mechanism setting another train in motion and into the empty carriage.

A report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded the accident could have been avoided.

Bernard Thorogood, prosecuting for the HSE, had argued workers had not been been given a system to follow which would safely deal with the issue.

He said engineers on the day had not read or seen the ride’s operating instructions.

He also pointed out there were estimated winds on the day of the crash 45mph but the manufacturers manual stated the ride should not be operated at wind speeds above 34mph.

Source : BBC

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