England

Alton Towers Smiler crash: Attraction closed for third day

Rescue under way Image copyright WMAS
Image caption The carriage was travelling at 20mph when it crashed

Alton Towers is closed for a third full day as investigators assess the cause of a rollercoaster crash in which 16 people were injured, four seriously.

People on the Smiler ride were trapped 25ft (7.6m) up at an angle of 45 degrees for up to four-and-a-half hours when two carriages collided on Tuesday.

It was 11 minutes before emergency services were called.

The theme park is estimated to be losing up to £500,000 every day since closing.

The worst injured were textile design student Joe Pugh, 18, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire; his girlfriend, Leah Washington, 17; Daniel Thorpe, 27, a hotel assistant manager from Buxton, Derbyshire; and Vicky Balch, 19, of Leyland, Lancashire.

Mr Thorpe is being treated at University Hospital Coventry and the other three are being treated at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Alton Towers said it was reviewing its closure decisions on a daily basis.

Image copyright facebook
Image caption (L to r) Daniel Thorpe, Vicky Balch, Joe Pugh, Leah Washington

Theme park bosses were informed of the accident on Tuesday at 13:57 BST, but ambulance crews said a 999 call was not made until 14:08 BST.

Alton Towers said one of its first responders was soon on the scene and security staff would have called 999 as soon as an assessment had been made.

Crews from West Midlands Ambulance Service arrived on the scene at 14:35 BST and they called the fire service at 14:41 BST.

Fire crews were not initially requested by Alton Towers but the park's staff did put their own call in requesting their assistance at 14:45 BST, the fire service said.

Since opening two years ago the £18m Smiler rollercoaster, which boasts a world-record 14 loops, has been closed twice because of safety concerns.

An Alton Towers spokeswoman said two hotels, including an indoor water park in one of them, and woodland lodges, remained open, but the theme park was closed.

The park said that anyone with pre-booked tickets would be able to visit Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle or Legoland Windsor as an alternative.

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