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The Smiler broke down today, and of course the media have got their claws out. Obviously there is no mentions of the ride doing what is should and ensuring an accident does not happen, only interviews with people saying they think the ride should close forever.

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This even made some crappy US News. I can't believe how they're reporting the ride STOPPING to be such a big deal and prove it's not safe. Would they rather it not stop and cause another horrible accident!?! Oh wait, the horrible media probably would like that!

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If it bleeds! It leads!

 

Having worked firsthand on the TV Production crew at a local News broadcast, I have heard that very statement from the News Director, and have witnessed his actual glee when bad, or even terrible events happen to report on. Yeah, it's messed up, but it definitely is true, unfortunately...

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  • 4 weeks later...
Alton Towers sentencing: 'Operator Merlin at fault'

 

Human error caused two carriages to collide in June 2015, leaving five people seriously injured

Alton Towers operator Merlin was at fault for the Smiler rollercoaster crash, a court has heard.

Two teenagers were left needing leg amputations and several other victims suffered serious injuries in the accident in June 2015.

An investigation found human error caused the crash, which saw a carriage smash into an empty car.

Operator Merlin Attractions has been warned to expect a "very large fine" for health and safety breaches.

 

Opening the sentencing hearing at Stafford Crown Court, barrister Bernard Thorogood, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said the crash equated to "a family car of 1.5 tons having collided at about 90mph".

•The £18m Smiler was the world's first 14 multi-loop rollercoaster with up to five trains running at any one time

•On 2 June four trains were operating on the ride; a fifth was stored away

•At 13:00 BST there was a problem with one of the trains; technical staff were called

•One of the engineers thought it was a good opportunity to add the fifth train because the park was busy

•An empty test train was sent but failed

•Engineers pushed the train until it engaged with the system and off it went

•Another empty train was sent out. It got stuck, too, but in a different place

•Engineers were unaware of this, thought everything was working fine and handed it back to operators

•The train with 16 passengers on was sent out and stopped

•The engineers looked but could not see the stalled car, thought the computer was wrong, and over-rode the stop. This set the 16-passenger train in motion and into the empty carriage

He said a test carriage had been sent around the 14-loop ride but had failed.

'Fault with employers'

Engineers re-set the ride and overrode a computer system "block-stop" which they believed had halted the ride in error, sending a full 16-seater rollercoaster car around the track and into the empty carriage.

Mr Thorogood said that the "fault here is with the employers", not individuals.

He said the engineers were "without guidance from above", and had not been given a system to follow to safely deal with the problem on the track.

"The fault is with the defendant for not devising a scheme, for not guiding the work of the engineers," he said.

Among those who attended the first day were Victoria Balch and Leah Washington, who had legs amputated after the crash.

Wind speeds

The court heard how there were estimated winds on the day of 45mph. But the manufacturer's manual said the ride should not be operated at speeds above 34 mph.

Mr Thorogood said the victims were left for a "significant period of time" at least 20ft (6m) above ground, waiting for medical attention because of the inaccessibility of the ride.

 

Daniel Thorpe, Vicky Balch, Joe Pugh and Leah Washington were among those who suffered the most serious injuries

He said engineers on the day had not read or seen the operating instructions for the ride.

The Recorder of Stafford, Judge Michael Chambers QC, is set to hear mitigation from Merlin, based in Poole, Dorset, before passing sentence.

In April the operator admitted charges of breaching the Health and Safety Act. An investigation by the park found staff misunderstood a shutdown message and wrongly restarted the ride.

Since the crash, a number of safety changes have been made including improved access and a policy of closing the ride when winds exceed 35mph.

Source

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Ah thanks for the update.

Sorry I didnt know that. For several reasons I have not made the trip up there this year sadly.

As far as I know, they have never had closed days before in previous years, if this is all down to falling numbers following the Smiler incident, then it must have shaken peoples oppinion more than I thought.

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I always assumed there was no footage of the actual impact of the crash apart from that phone footage because it was a blind spot and that cameras came after the accident so that footage is quite surprising considering this:

 

•The engineers looked but could not see the stalled car, thought the computer was wrong, and over-rode the stop. This set the 16-passenger train in motion and into the empty carriage

 

You'd think the cameras would be one of the first things used outside of actually looking.

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I thought the same. But... When I watched it myself, I didn´t see the valley-ed train as well. The quality is quite bad and it blends with the track and the rest of the environment quite well, especially when it´s standstill.

 

I only saw the train for the second glimplse and only because:

 

1) I knew there must be the damned train somewhere

2) I approximately knew where to look for it.

 

If I were the operator, I wouldn´t probably see that...

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Yes, but I don't think that the operators and engineers can just make assumptions like that. They have to know exactly how many trains are on the track and where they are at all times. I feel like if there's even any doubt, the coaster should go to full stop on all appropriate block sections until every train is accounted for.

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If I were the operator, I wouldn´t probably see that...

 

Sorry, as a ride op / maintenance person you need to know how many ride units are on the ride. If you don't know where they all are before starting the ride after it just block stopped then you're an a**hole.

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I thought the same. But... When I watched it myself, I didn´t see the valley-ed train as well. The quality is quite bad and it blends with the track and the rest of the environment quite well, especially when it´s standstill.

 

I only saw the train for the second glimplse and only because:

 

1) I knew there must be the damned train somewhere

2) I approximately knew where to look for it.

 

If I were the operator, I wouldn´t probably see that...

The train does bland in well, and when there are 20+ cameras to look at, there is an issue.

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Forget the cameras. As a ride operator / maintenance staff member you need to know how many ride units are on the track. If you don't see one of them then figure out where it is.

 

No doubts, that was mistake on his part. Just saying it wasn´t obvious from cameras. Then it´s hard to say, whatever he didn´t realize there is actually one more train (maybe he was still thinking there is 4, not 5).. He could thought this just for a split second, forgetting the extra train, and press the button. I can imagine such a stupid mistake can happen.

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