‘Human error’ caused Alton Towers Smiler ride
The cause of the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash earlier this year has been put down to human error, according to the theme park.
Victoria Balch and Leah Washington had their legs amputated after the crash on 2 June, when the Smiler ride hit an empty carriage in front of it.
An investigation by the park has confirmed that staff misunderstood a shutdown message and wrongly restarted the ride. No technical or mechanical issues were found with the ride itself.
The ride, which has been closed since the crash, will reopen next year with improved safety measures.
“A ride shutdown message was misunderstood by staff at the ride,” an Alton Towers spokeswoman said.
“This led to a decision to manually restart the ride, overriding the control system without appropriate safety protocols being followed correctly.”
A total of 16 people were injured when the carriage they were in collided with an empty one that had come to a halt ahead of them.
Merlin Entertainment, which owns Alton Towers, previously said all 16 would receive compensation.
The Health and Safety Executive said its own investigation was “still ongoing”.
Alton Towers said it had followed “standard HR procedures and taken the appropriate action” when dealing with the staff whose errors caused the crash.
A spokeswoman said: “The outcome of this however remains a private matter between us and any individual concerned.”
“We are confident that lessons have been learned and that appropriate action has been taken to address all the issues raised by our investigation.”