Reports from both Alton Towers and first response teams confirm that emergency services weren’t alerted to horrific accident until 11 minutes after the crash.

The Alton Towers theme park is set to remain closed on Friday after two of The Smiler’s trains collided on Tuesday afternoon.

A report by the Press Association Reporters have indicated that park bosses were alerted to the accident at 13:57, whereas the first 999 call was not made until 14:08 – 11 minutes after the crash occurred.

[Tweet “Emergency services weren’t alerted to horrific incident until 11 minutes after The Smiler crash. “]

The park’s first response team attended the scene in X Sector at 14:09, one minute after the 999 call was issued. At 14:11 hours, West Midlands Ambulance Service were mobilised, and arrived at the Staffordshire based theme park at 14:35 hours.

All four of the passengers on the front row – who are understood to have received the most severe injuries – have been named.  18-year-old Joe Hughs was sat in the front right seat when his train collided with a stalled train on the batwing element of the £18 million roller coaster, and has since taken to social media to thank users of his well wishes.

Joe was attending the park on a first date with 17-year-old girlfriend Leah Washington, who is said to have been given a blood transfusion and morphine before passing out after the accident.

Love at worst sight: Joe and Leah were on their first date when the tragic incident struck. Image from BBC/Facebook.

Love at worst sight: Joe and Leah were on their first date when the tragic incident struck. Image from BBC/Facebook.

Daniel Thorpe, 27 from Buxton has also been named as one of the victims on the front row at the time of the accident. Mr Thorpe suffered a fractured knee and a collapsed lung after sitting on the front left seat of the train when it collided with a stalled vehicle.

Thrillseeker: Daniel Thorpe suffered a fractured knee and collapsed lung on The Smiler.

Thrillseeker: Daniel Thorpe suffered a fractured knee and collapsed lung on The Smiler.

The final passenger to be injured on the front row is 19-year-old Vicky Balch from Leyland.

Other passengers situated elsewhere on the train include Vanisha Singh, 29, her mother Chanda, 49, and her sister Meera, 26. All three passengers were sat on the second row during the collision, with Vanisha describing a “burning sensation in her neck, pelvis and back pain”.

The 29-year-old told The Sun that her train had been held at the top of the first lift hill for between 10-15 minutes during a period of technical difficulties. She went on to describe the horrifying aftermath:

“”It was terrifying. There was blood all over the floor because it was pouring out of their legs in the carriage and dropping down. The doctors and firemen were covered in blood as they scaled the scaffolding to treat the guys on the front row.”

All four passengers on the front row were airlifted to various major trauma centres, with the full extent of their injuries or recoveries still unknown.

The Press Association City Staff have gone on to report that £1.5million has been lost in revenue so far with the theme park being closed. Guests with pre booked tickets are permitted to use them elsewhere at a different Merlin Entertainments attraction, such as THORPE PARK, Legoland Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures or Warwick Castle. Alternatively, they are also permitted to gain a full refund or allocate the tickets to an entirely different date.

The Health and Safety team remain on site with investigations still underway. Alton Towers are reportedly fully cooperating with the investigation.


Dan Wright

Dan is a graduate Journalism student who has been writing for Airgates since 2015. His passion and knowledge for the theme park industry sees him visiting theme parks across the world each year, mainly in Europe. Dan has appeared on behalf of Airgates on BBC Radio 5Live and BBC Radio Sheffield to part with his theme park/roller coaster knowledge to a public audience.

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