Thursday 8 December 2016

Young student couple named among injured in Alton Towers rollercoaster crash

Alex Diaz

Published 03/06/2015 | 16:45

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire, as sixteen people have been involved in a collision between two carriages at Alton Towers amusement park's Smiler attraction. Fabio De Paola/PA Wire
The Smiler ride at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire, as sixteen people have been involved in a collision between two carriages at Alton Towers amusement park's Smiler attraction. Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

An 18-year-old textile design student and his girlfriend have been named as among those injured when a record-breaking rollercoaster crashed at Alton Towers.

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Joe Pugh, a student at the University of Huddersfield, and his girlfriend Leah Washington were hurt yesterday after two carriages crashed on a section of its 50mph ride, The Smiler. The extent of their injuries is as yet unknown.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said yesterday that four people suffered serious leg injuries in the crash - two men aged 27 and 18, and two women aged 19 and 17.

A total of 16 people were hurt when the £18 million rollercoaster, which boasts a world record 14 loops, collided with a stationary cart on a low section of the track.

Oaks Working Men's Club in Mr Pugh's home town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, posted on Facebook: "After hearing the news about the terrible accident at Alton Towers it has to come to our attention that a member of our staff was involved.

Read more: Four seriously injured in rollercoaster collision at Alton Towers

"We at the Oaks Wmc would like to extend our prayers and best wishes in the speedy recovery of our barman Joe Pugh and his girlfriend Leah Washington.

"Please be respectful of the families wishes as we don't have all the details of the incident as their attention will be focused on Joe and Leah's recovery."

Meanwhile, Alton Towers said it would remain closed for a second day tomorrow as the investigation into the collision continues.

Merlin Entertainments, which runs the park, has admitted that the ride suffered "teething problems" after opening in May 2013.

An Alton Towers spokesman said: "The decision has been taken that Alton Towers theme park will remain closed tomorrow following the incident on The Smiler.

"Guests with pre-booked tickets and those arriving at the theme park will have the choice of a full refund or an alternative dated ticket.

"Guests with pre-booked tickets have the option to use their tickets tomorrow at an alternative attraction. See website for more info."

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