Alton Towers theme park faces prosecution over 2015 rollercoaster disaster

An ambulance drives past the Smiler ride at Alton Towers in Alton, Britain © Darren Staples
The owners of the Alton Towers theme park will face charges over a 2015 rollercoaster disaster that led to multiple serious injuries, including amputations.

The disaster aboard the Smiler ride in June 2015 led to two passengers having limbs amputated and a further three customers being left with serious injuries. The prosecutions are being pursued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A statement on the HSE’s website said: “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which five people were seriously injured on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

"Two female passengers on the ‘Smiler’ ride suffered leg amputations and three others were also seriously injured when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track. The incident happened on 2 June 2015.

Merlin Attractions Ltd, the firm which owns Alton Towers, has been ordered to appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 22 April to face the charges.

Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands, said: “We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law. This was a serious incident with life-changing consequences for five people.

We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.

Among the victims was 18-year old Leah Washington, who had her left leg amputated below the knee following the incident.