Stoke & Staffordshire

Alton Towers victims welcome compensation promise

(L to r) Daniel Thorpe, Vicky Balch, Joe Pugh and Leah Washington Image copyright facebook
Image caption (L to r) Daniel Thorpe, Vicky Balch, Joe Pugh and Leah Washington are being treated in hospital

Lawyers representing the families of those injured in a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers have welcomed a promise of compensation.

Leah Washington had her leg amputated after two carriages on the Smiler ride collided on 2 June. Three others suffered severe injuries.

Merlin Entertainment said it had contacted those injured and all 16 on board would receive compensation.

Lawyer Paul Paxton, representing three of the families, welcomed the decision.

Ms Washington's boyfriend, 18-year-old Joe Pugh, from Barnsley, is being treated for two broken knees and "extensive" hand injuries at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

'Want for nothing'

The couple were in the front row of the Smiler ride, alongside Daniel Thorpe and Vicky Balch, when it hit an empty carriage.

Image copyright WMAS
Image caption The crash left 16 people trapped 25ft (7.6m) above the ground for about four and a half hours

Twenty-year-old Ms Balch, from Leyland in Lancashire, has undergone surgery in Stoke and is said to be in a serious, but stable condition.

Mr Thorpe, 27, from Buxton, Derbyshire, is being treated for a collapsed lung and fractured leg at a hospital in Coventry.

Chanda Chauhan, 49, from Wednesbury, who was sitting in the second row of the Smiler, was also admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital with internal injuries.

Merlin Entertainment, which owns Alton Towers, said it had hand-delivered letters to all of those affected.

Last week, chief executive Nick Varney promised there would be no problems with compensation and that those injured would "want for nothing".

Alton Towers reopened to the public on Monday, but the X-Sector area, including the Smiler, remains closed.

The two carriages that collided have been removed by the Health and Safety Executive to be examined in a laboratory and investigations are continuing at the theme park itself.

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