Alton Towers incident

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Class 172 Fan, 2 Jun 2015.

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  1. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    Just heard on the wireless that there has been an incident with the ride known as The Smiler.

    Apparently two carriages have collided into each other causing 4 people to have "serious injuries" according to what I heard
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2015
  2. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    BBC article here.
     
  3. OuterDistant

    OuterDistant Member

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    Oh dear. The yellow air ambulance has just passed here, heading from the Alton Towers direction towards Stoke, presumably with someone from the park on board.

    Not a good day for the Uttoxeter area, with the A50 incident as well :(
     
  4. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The Guardian had a little more to add, and were running a live blog on the incident.
    Hopefully their injuries aren't life-changing.
     
  5. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    It seems that ride has a bit of bad luck, what with all the incidents
     
  6. DaleCooper

    DaleCooper Established Member

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    Or poor design?
     
  7. Antman

    Antman Established Member

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    It seems this is by far the most serious incident. Eye witnesses were critical of how long it took staff to respond to the emergency.

    The park will be closed tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  8. HilversumNS

    HilversumNS Member

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    The reports I've read and seen indicate that staff and the emergency services were there quickly, but due to the location of the cars, it took a while to extract the injured.

    The overhead pictures appear to show scaffolding, which is what probably what took time to erect to allow the rescuers to do their job.
     
  9. chris11256

    chris11256 Member

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    Rollercoasters are a bit like mini trains. One carriage set shouldn't be allowed into a block if there's a carriage set is already in it. The smiler is split into two sections. So under normal operation the carriage with people should have simply waited at the bottom of the vertical incline. I've read some reports that state that this did happen, and the carriage waited for about 10 minutes before carrying in. However this cannot be confirmed.

    The only way to override this safety feature is with an engineer key. Normal ride operators don't have the authority to do it.

    There's either been a serious technical failure, or massive human error.
     
  10. rdeez

    rdeez Member

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    The fact that the occupied carriage stopped and waited before the collision suggests to me (though this is obviously entirely speculative) that human intervention may be the more likely explanation.

    Smiler has a 'manual' mode (as alluded to in chris11256's post) that allows movement of carriages between sections to be controlled by the operator instead of automatically by the computer. It's been reported (though not confirmed) that the ride was in manual mode at the time following earlier technical difficulties. This opens up a number of possibilities for where things may have gone wrong - ordering the movement of the wrong carriage is one, or simply a mistaken belief that the section was clear.

    Of course, this could all be entirely unrelated and/or unfounded and it could be something purely technical instead. If it does turn out to be technical, Alton Towers really need to consider the future of the ride IMO, given its troubled past. The faults may be distinct and unrelated but it seems pretty obvious that there have been some considerable flaws in the design. I wouldn't want to be on the coaster when the next one surfaces. :|
     
  11. chris11256

    chris11256 Member

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    There's a new Guardian article about the crash. Link
    It's looking more and more like human error. Especially if its true that the ride was in manual mode at the time.
     
  12. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The Telegraph has new information:
     
  13. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    I think the ride is fairly doomed. I could see Alton Towers having to cut their losses with it and pull it down with this on its record as well now.

    Shame, The Black Hole was a really good ride.
     
  14. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    There would certainly be a lower number of people willing to use the ride after this incident.

    I have great disdain for this compensation culture we live in but if negligence is proven I honestly hope Alton Towers/Merlin/whoever agree to pay money for any care or facilities the victims need as a result of these injuries, and then some.
     
  15. Johnuk123

    Johnuk123 Established Member

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    Doubt that will happen, and I also doubt that the type of people who like these rides will care one jot about this accident in fact it will probably become even more popular.
     
  16. CharlieSpotted

    CharlieSpotted Member

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    What's the relevance to The Black Hole? Did they knock down The Black Hole to site The Smiler?
     
  17. Strathclyder

    Strathclyder Established Member

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    The Smiler is located on the former site of The Black Hole, which closed in March 2005 and was re-located to (I think) a amusement park/zoo in Furuvik, Sweden.

    OT, I hope everyone involved makes a complete recovery.
     
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Given that the passengers of the ride could do nothing to avoid the incident and they have sustained 'serious injuries', then compensation is inevitable form the operators/designers/manufacturers and that has nothing to do with any 'compensation culture' whatever that really is if it exists.
     
  19. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    By 'compensation culture' I was referring to the endless stream of 'have you had an injury that wasn't your fault' adverts on television, cold calls, and people thinking they can get something for nothing, eg whiplash scams.

    My point, which may have not been clear, was that in comparison, this is a case where compensation is most certainly due.

    One legal firm approached the incident rather distastefully (link)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  20. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Just heard the park will be shut again tomorrow. It was mentioned on the news in Radio 2 this morning where it was reported a number (a couple IIRC) of riders suffered life changing leg injuries :(
     
  21. Harlan Cage

    Harlan Cage Member

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    Human error being mooted on some news reports with first empty test having not cleared the ride before the first passenger one commenced it's journey.
     
  22. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    How tragic :(

    That could have been any one of us on the forum, or any of our mates or family, had fate chosen us. And I know several forumites live relatively close-by to the park.

    Me and my friends were planning a trip to Blackpool pleasure beach but we've decided against it. Thinking about the event makes me feel quite nauseous tbh. But I do hope this kind if incident doesn't have a negative lasting effect on the fun park & rides industry.
     
  23. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    It's normal for trains to be sent out before the previous one has completed the entire ride - there are multiple blocks along the track specifically to allow this. In normal operation there are at least three trains out on the ride at any one time.

    The issue isn't that a train was dispatched while one was out on the ride, but that two trains came to be in the same block.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    To keep it in perspective, by calling off the trip you have reduced the comparatively high chance of being killed or injured in a car crash, or if you planned to take the train being killed or injured as a pedestrian. This is the first roller coaster incident in the UK in years that has involved very serious injuries, if I recall.
     
  25. Johnuk123

    Johnuk123 Established Member

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    Somewhat overreacting to say the least.
     
  26. Searle

    Searle Established Member

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    Highly doubt it would because even more popular, I certainly wouldn't want to ride it now, and I'm quite into rollercoasters. There are so many other rides in Alton Towers, so I would be fine going on others for the day.

    Sounds fair to me!
     
  27. EssexGonzo

    EssexGonzo Member

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    Agree.

    When this ride re-opens (and indeed the whole park) I would struggle to think of a safer place in the UK to go on a roller coaster given the attention its now receiving. It's often tough to realise at the time, but good does come out of tragedy sometimes.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I must admit to being very surprised the whole park (rather than one ride) is closed, but their other parks (which must surely be built and run to the same kinds of specification and procedures) are not.

    On an aside there are perhaps design lessons there for the "crashworthiness" of rides, i.e. to avoid leg injuries as happened here?
     
  29. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Yeah right :roll: :lol:
    Oh, you must have misunderstood. Please don't get me wrong, not for one minute do any of us believe something like this would happen to us. We recognise the chance of such an injury is miniscule. The simple reason is that we wouldn't enjoy it as much; there'd be a shadow hanging over it until we knew the people concerned were going to pull through. It isn't that we're not going out of fear we'll die. We're not going because some of us wouldn't be able to go on a rollercoaster without constantly being reminded of the people in hospital. The mood would be rather flat.

    Do you think it's an overreaction to have passing nausea about someone my age being potentially crippled for life through no fault of his own?
     
  30. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I assume that whilst Roller Coasters are generally on rails of some description they are not within the purview of the RAIB to investigate?
     
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