Alton Towers Smiler ride leaves thrill-seekers dangling in mid-air

It's just 15 months since the ride crashed leaving two visitors needing leg amputations

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Just 15 months after a serious crash on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers, thrill-seekers have once again been left dangling in mid-air by the Smiler ride.

Vicky Balch and Leah Washington had life changing injuries when Smiler crashed in 2015, with three others suffering serious injuries at the time.

This time, theme park visitors were on the Smiler when there was a “temporary stoppage” but nobody was injured, a spokeswoman said.

However, one Twitter user claimed the passengers had been there half an hour – hardly temporary.

The £18 million ride at the Staffordshire attraction smashed into another carriage on 2nd June 2015.

An investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary car on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash.

As a result, the full carriage ploughed into the rear of the empty car, leaving two women needing leg amputations.

A year on from the accident and Leah Washington, Vicky Balch and Joe Pugh spoke out about the nightmare crash in an interview on This Morning.


Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted a breach of health and safety rules over the incident.

Vicky returned to the scene of the crash a year on as part of her therapy that she has received since the tragic accident.

She can now walk largely unaided thanks to a £70,000 new motorised bionic leg.

Made by German company Otto Bock, the prosthetic has meant that she can start exercising again.

Talking previously about her recovery, Vicky said: “It’s not easy some days, I have really bad days but obviously everyone around me and even people I don’t know support me so much.

“I don’t want to let anyone down. I think I’m scared of letting people down more than anything.”

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor