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Merlin fined £5 million for Smiler incident

Date Posted:

Tuesday 27th September 2016


Over the past two days Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd have been in court over the smiler incident back in 2015 where two cars crashed into each other leaving guests injured. 

During the hearing the court heard that on the day of the accident engineers overrode the control system on the ride without the knowledge and understanding to ensure it was safe to do so. During the testing of the ride after the accident it was found that there were no problems with the ride, cars or control systems. 

The judge said the incident was needless and avoidable.”catastrophic failure to assess risk and have a structured system of work” 

Merlin pleaded guilty to the charges and where therefor fined £5,000,000.

Nick Varney, CEO Merlin Entertainments:

“From the beginning the company has accepted full responsibility for the terrible accident at Alton Towers and has made sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who were injured. I repeat those sentiments here today as we did in court yesterday,” he said.

“In accepting responsibility and liability very early on we have tried to make the healing and compensation process as trouble free as possible for all of those involved. We have strived to fulfil our promise to support them in every way and I promise that this support will continue as long as they need it.

“We were always aware that we would end up here today facing a substantial penalty, as has been delivered by the court today. However, Alton Towers – and indeed the wider Merlin Group – are not emotionless corporate entities.

“They are made up of human beings who care passionately about what they do. In this context, the far greater punishment for all of us is knowing that on this occasion we let people down with devastating consequences.

“It is something we will never forget and it is something we are utterly determined will never be repeated.”

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