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A day out at one of Britain’s best loved theme parks is one that most thrill seekers look forward to. Advances in health and safety means that the majority of us leap on all manner of hair-raising rides with little concern, putting our faith in the organisers with the assumption that our safety is almost guaranteed.
The terrifying nature of the accident at Alton Towers yesterday acts as a stark reminder of what can go wrong.
Yesterday afternoon 4 people suffered significant lower limb injuries on the park’s Smiler ride when the coach they were riding in came off one loop and collided almost immediately with an empty coach ahead of them that had become stuck. They were all taken to hospital as a result of their injuries and further details are awaited. It is thought there was also a number of walking wounded as a result of the collision.
The Smiler is a ride that opened in May 2013 and was renowned for being the first roller coasters in the world with 14 loops. It is being reported that the park had had a number of technical issues with the ride since its opening, with even a group of journalists left hanging vertically whilst previewing the ride, and only earlier yesterday there had been a technical fault which caused the ride to stop working for some time.
Whilst it seems that the response to the crash was efficient with first responders arriving at the scene within minutes shortly followed by the emergency services, it is being reported that those injured were trapped on the ride for a further 4.5 hours which must only have added to the horror of the event.
Whilst the exact cause of yesterday event’s is currently unknown, it will inevitably prompt management at Alton Towers and other theme parks to have a careful look into safety procedures and protocol and ensure that all staff managing such rides are complying fully with these to make sure something like this does not happen again.
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