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Alton Towers owner Merlin just got slapped with a £5m fine for the Smiler rollercoaster crash

Billy Bambrough
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The crash left five people with with serious injuries
The crash left five people with with serious injuries (Source: Getty)

Alton Towers owner Merlin Attractions has been handed a £5m fine over a crash on one of its rollercoasters last year that left five people with serious injuries.

Two female passengers were forced to undergo leg amputations and three others were also seriously injured when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track. The incident happened in June last year.

Shares in the company jumped by almost one per cent after the fine was announced.

“From the beginning the company has accepted full responsibility for the terrible accident at Alton Towers and has made sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who were injured. I repeat those sentiments here today as we did in court yesterday," said Nick Varney, Merlin's chief executive.

"In accepting responsibility and liability very early on we have tried to make the healing and compensation process as trouble free as possible for all of those involved. We have strived to fulfil our promise to support them in every way and I promise that this support will continue as long as they need it."

Varney added: "We were always aware that we would end up here today facing a substantial penalty, as has been delivered by the court today. However, Alton Towers - and indeed the wider Merlin Group - are not emotionless corporate entities.

"They are made up of human beings who care passionately about what they do. In this context, the far greater punishment for all of us is knowing that on this occasion we let people down with devastating consequences."

It is something we will never forget and it is something we are utterly determined will never be repeated.

Yesterday a court heard that it was 17 minutes after the crash before anyone called 999.

In April Merlin executives admitted breaching health and safety laws over the crash. Last year the company said the accident was caused by "human error".

In Merlin's most recent results the company said the London and Alton Towers markets remain "challenging".

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