‘The Smiler’ roller coaster slams into empty car, seriously injuring 4 riders

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Emergency personnel trying to get injured riders out of the roller coaster after the crash. (Photo: West Midlands Ambulance Service, U.K.)

STAFFORDSHIRE, England — A roller coaster car collided with an empty car Tuesday at a British theme park, leaving four people with serious injuries, officials said.

The crash took place on “The Smiler” at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire.

Sixteen people were on the ride, according to a statement from the park. Everyone was evacuated, and the four with serious injuries were transported to hospitals.

[According to the BBC, the West Midlands Ambulance Service said two men, aged 18 and 27, and two women, aged 19 and 17, suffered “significant lower limb injuries”. They were airlifted to trauma centers in Stoke and Coventry for treatment.]

“This has been a terrible incident and a devastating day for everyone here. I would like to express my sincerest regret and apology to everyone who suffered injury and distress today and to their families,” said Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which operates Alton Towers.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, and Varney said a full investigation was under way.

“The safety of our visitors is our primary concern. The park will remain closed until we understand better the cause of this dreadful incident,” he said.

 

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