Nottingham

Alton Towers Smiler crash: Victims' disgust at fancy dress

Students in fancy dress Image copyright The Tab
Image caption The students have apologised for causing any offence

Students who dressed up as a rollercoaster and called themselves the "7 legless" have apologised to victims of the Alton Towers crash.

The University of Nottingham students made the outfits for a bar crawl and posed in them for a student news site.

Smiler crash victim Joe Pugh and girlfriend Leah Washington, who had her leg amputated, tweeted their "disgust".

The University of Nottingham Students' Union said the costume was "in no way intended to reference the tragedy".

In an interview with a university magazine, the students admitted they attached fake legs to their costumes but said it was to simulate "a person sitting down" rather than any form of injury.

Image copyright Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Joe Pugh (second from right) and his girlfriend Leah Washington (second from left) have both tweeted about the fancy dress outfits

Joe Pugh, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire tweeted: "How awful and disrespectful can people get? Disgusting."

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Leah Washington, whose leg was amputated, tweeted at the same time as her boyfriend Joe Pugh

The photos were taken by a reporter from student news site The Tab during a bar crawl called the "7 Legged" on Monday night.

In a statement, the University of Nottingham Students' Union, said: "The costume was in no way intended to reference the tragedy that occurred on the Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers.

"Its design was based on a traditional concept that has existed for several years and no reference was made to the Smiler by the students involved.

"The students involved further wish to apologise unreservedly to those affected by the Smiler incident for any offence or distress they may have unwittingly caused."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA carriage containing 16 passengers crashed into an empty train that had stopped midway around the 14-loop ride.

The University of Nottingham said it had "liaised closely" with the students' union since it became aware of the conduct of those attending the event.

"The university is aware of the SU's initial investigations regarding this matter and its media statement issued today," it said.

"The university expects to receive a full report from the SU on the conduct of the event on 17 October and the future of the event itself."

Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption The students wore homemade rollercoaster seats strapped to their backs

Sixteen people were injured in the crash in June 2015, including Ms Washington and Vicky Balch, who both needed leg amputations.

Alton Towers operator Merlin was fined £5m after admitting breaching the Health and Safety Act.

Update 26 October 2016: This report has been amended after The Tab said it had incorrectly reported the students were dressed as Smiler victims with "fake amputated legs".

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