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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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Oh oops haha well I hope that it isn't human error then. I'm sure it will be a while for them to sort this out.

 

If it is human error, an accident like this is understandable. A technician could have very well pulled his key out of the panel without realizing the ride was still in maintenance mode.

 

However, hopefully the ride was not in auto mode. Then this would have been a computer error, and these are very unpredictable when they happen. The investigation could go on for a year without finding out any new info. However, if all safety systems were working properly, the system would have counted the number of trains, and not dispatched if one was missing. This is unless an operator or technician switched the "number of trains" dial while in maintenance mode. Then, the missing train would have went un-sensed and the system would have worked as normal.

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I guess that's why I was hoping it wasn't human error. If it was done by the operator I'm sure they would be faced with something and I'm sure they would be fired for sure. Human error would be the simple fix though. Sorry I'm not the most mechaninical person so knowing the systems in a coaster is not my strength. I just hate seeing people getting trashed for something like causing a roller coaster accident. I just want this whole thing sorted out. It sucks that this situation happened human error or not.

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Assuming human error was the cause, could the ride operator/engineer face legal charges?

Nope, Deep Pockets Doctrine. The lawsuit will go to Merlin. Nobody's gonna get any money out of a seasonal theme park employee.

Well that's kind of good for the operator but also sucky for Merlin. What would happen if it were a mechanical error? Would gerstlauer face charges?

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Assuming human error was the cause, could the ride operator/engineer face legal charges?

Nope, Deep Pockets Doctrine. The lawsuit will go to Merlin. Nobody's gonna get any money out of a seasonal theme park employee.

 

The engineers are not seasonal employees they are all permanent members of staff. Also Merlin will not be the ones taken to court if thats what action is decided to be taken "Alton Towers Resort Operations Limited" will be the ones held accountable not Merlin.

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Assuming human error was the cause, could the ride operator/engineer face legal charges?

Nope, Deep Pockets Doctrine. The lawsuit will go to Merlin. Nobody's gonna get any money out of a seasonal theme park employee.

 

The engineers are not seasonal employees they are all permanent members of staff. Also Merlin will not be the ones taken to court if thats what action is decided to be taken "Alton Towers Resort Operations Limited" will be the ones held accountable not Merlin.

 

I meant employee of a seasonal theme park. Is Alton Towers open all year?

 

Also, I'll admit that I don't know how Merlin's parks are structured, but the plaintiff typically targets the largest part of the entity they're suing, which is why you'll see people sue Walt Disney World rather than Epcot.

 

Either way, the answer to the original question (aka, the important part) is still correct....

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Well, we have more information...

http://airgates.co.uk/2015/06/03/smiler-collision-results-in-loss-of-leg/

 

Smiler Collision Results in Loss of Leg

 

By Michael Mander

 

Following the collision of two carriages on The Smiler at Alton Towers yesterday, a guest has reportedly sustained leg injuries resulting in the loss of a leg.

 

The individual who allegedly received an amputation, believed to be a female ages 17-19, was taken to hospital via air ambulance along with three others, after being trapped in the ride car for several hours.

 

The park and emergency services reported two males and two females had suffered “serious leg injuries”. One of these four has been discharged.

 

Doctors were forced to carry out a leg amputation on the guest, according to two sources. The Daily Mail have also made these claims.

 

An Alton Towers spokesperson says the park “cannot comment further” on the extent of the injuries.

 

A carriage carrying 16 passengers collided into an empty carriage – resulting in “serious leg injuries” in four guests.

 

The four guests were evacuated after several hours and transported to two different hospitals by air ambulance.

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^^ It's sad to think that these young individuals went to the park to have a good time, and leave with something that is going to physically change their life forever. It makes me greatful for the thousands of safe roller coaster/theme park ride rides that I have had.

 

Hopefully these 4 people pull through this and have a speedy recovery as much as they possibly can.

Edited by DoinItForTheFame
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Assuming human error was the cause, could the ride operator/engineer face legal charges?

Nope, Deep Pockets Doctrine. The lawsuit will go to Merlin. Nobody's gonna get any money out of a seasonal theme park employee.

 

The engineers are not seasonal employees they are all permanent members of staff. Also Merlin will not be the ones taken to court if thats what action is decided to be taken "Alton Towers Resort Operations Limited" will be the ones held accountable not Merlin.

 

I meant employee of a seasonal theme park. Is Alton Towers open all year?

 

Also, I'll admit that I don't know how Merlin's parks are structured, but the plaintiff typically targets the largest part of the entity they're suing, which is why you'll see people sue Walt Disney World rather than Epcot.

 

Either way, the answer to the original question (aka, the important part) is still correct....

 

Are you an expert in English law? Who a victim sues has nothing to do with possible criminal negligence charges (should those laws exist in England) should it be found to be human error.

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Assuming human error was the cause, could the ride operator/engineer face legal charges?

Nope, Deep Pockets Doctrine. The lawsuit will go to Merlin. Nobody's gonna get any money out of a seasonal theme park employee.

 

The engineers are not seasonal employees they are all permanent members of staff. Also Merlin will not be the ones taken to court if thats what action is decided to be taken "Alton Towers Resort Operations Limited" will be the ones held accountable not Merlin.

 

I meant employee of a seasonal theme park. Is Alton Towers open all year?

 

Also, I'll admit that I don't know how Merlin's parks are structured, but the plaintiff typically targets the largest part of the entity they're suing, which is why you'll see people sue Walt Disney World rather than Epcot.

 

Either way, the answer to the original question (aka, the important part) is still correct....

 

Are you an expert in English law? Who a victim sues has nothing to do with possible criminal negligence charges (should those laws exist in England) should it be found to be human error.

 

^Exactly. Criminal charges and lawsuits are completely different. I'm no expert on UK law, but I wouldn't be surprised if some charges could be brought against an individual in this case. It all depends on if he or she acted unlawfully, which is why the H&SE are there. IF the law states you must not operate in manual mode with passengers and IF thats what happened, then the law has been broken so someone has to take responsibility for that. I believe corporate charges apply in the case of things such as gross negligence (i.e. a problem which has existed but been ignored). It is of course entirely possible all the charges would be brought against the company. As far as payouts go, this would probably be from the Park/Merlin depending on how the company is setup.

 

The maintenance staff work all year round as far as I know, in the off season the rides are stripped and serviced as required. For fairly obvious reasons its pretty difficult to do major maintenance work during the season.

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Thought with all those involved !

 

I was shocked the park was shut now for a second day but Nick Varney looked shocked and said they wanted to check all the rides out before reopening. I think he is genuinely concerned but I guess by doing this it also demonstrates a commitment to TOTAL safety to the HSE.

 

Stu K

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If the news reports are to be believed (which is not usually the case) the park will be closed indefinitely until the investigation is complete.

 

Latest reports are also saying that Alton Tower bosses are considering removing the ride all together. Again, very doubtful:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11650536/Alton-Towers-to-remain-closed-as-bosses-consider-scrapping-The-Smiler.html

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I think that safety is their number 1 concern, if this is human error (and I think that it will turn out to be the case) then they want to make sure that everyone is trained to such a level that this can't happen again on any ride.

 

The fact that the full train had been stopped on the lift hill shows that the system was working correctly. The empty train hadn't cleared the block so the system e-stopped and didn't allow the full train to carry on over the lift hill into the block.

 

The train was up there for 10-15 minutes, so you would assume that someone was working on the ride to try and get it going again. Unfortunately it appears that the stalled train has been overlooked and the system has been over ridden to get the ride moving again.

 

I remember that in one of the witness interviews from someone who was in the queue at the time, they said that because of the stoppages and breakdowns an extra train was put on the track to get the queues down.

Is it possible that an engineer that had previously been working on the ride come back to it when it stopped again, seen that the same number of empty trains were in the station and so dispatched the train on the lift hill not knowing there was actually another train on the track somewhere.

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If the news reports are to be believed (which is not usually the case) the park will be closed indefinitely until the investigation is complete.

 

Latest reports are also saying that Alton Tower bosses are considering removing the ride all together. Again, very doubtful:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11650536/Alton-Towers-to-remain-closed-as-bosses-consider-scrapping-The-Smiler.html

 

Lots of quotes in that article to justify the headline!

 

No way on earth will they scrap this so soon. Unless there was some catastrophic issue which is highly unlikely.

 

Personally it just makes me want to ride it more. If it keeps the lines shorter then that's to the benefit of those still wishing to ride it.

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If the news reports are to be believed (which is not usually the case) the park will be closed indefinitely until the investigation is complete.

 

Latest reports are also saying that Alton Tower bosses are considering removing the ride all together. Again, very doubtful:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11650536/Alton-Towers-to-remain-closed-as-bosses-consider-scrapping-The-Smiler.html

 

It says:

 

Confirmation for the first time that the Staffordshire venue will not reopen until the investigation is complete comes amid reports bosses are said to be considering scrapping the £18million ride, which has suffered a series of problems since it opened two years ago.

 

So basically its a completely factless statement used to generate a headline people will read. I cannot see them closing this ride. Once the cause of the accideent is established, as long as they can assure the public, themselves, and the H&SE it won't happen again theres no reason to close it.

 

In terms of keeping the park closed, as has been said before I think (assuming the mass opinion here is correct) they probably know by now it was human error so want to ensure procedures are in place to avoid this happening again. I cant see what else can be done in terms of technology, given you have to be able to operate it manually at some point. Whilst possibly at the request of the H&SE, I think keeping the park closed for 2 days (at least) may also be a show to the public that they are taking the incident very seriously.

 

As for the re-opening of the Smiler, is there anything you can gauge this on? I mean if it was human error, theres nothing wrong with the ride, and barring any structural inspection no reason to not open it. You can't install any more technology to avoid this sort of accident. Personally I would forsee it being closed for several months, until the investigating and reports are complete. This would at least put the publics mind at rest a little knowing it would be 'safer' than if they just rushed and opened it in a couple of weeks time.

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I'm reading reports that the impact was at a point in the ride where the train reaches speeds of 50MPH, but I'd have to think that if a train valleyed, could it really have been going that fast in that section? Anyone more familiar with the ride know if where it crashed is one of the more high speed moments of the ride?

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