Couple on first date amongst four injured in ‘The Smiler’ collison.

Wednesday, 3rd June 2015

A YOUNG couple from Barnsley who were on their ‘first proper date’ were amongst the four people seriously injured in the rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers yesterday.

Following the horrendous incident on Tuesday, the park was closed today and they have taken the decision that they will also remain closed on Thursday 4 June.

It has today emerged that two of the teenagers seriously injured in the rollercoaster crash were on their first date together. Student Joe Pugh, 18, broke both of his legs in the accident and girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, suffered horrific injuries.

They had only been going out with each other for four days and the trip to the theme park was their first proper date.

The pair, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, were sat on the front row of ‘The Smiler’ carriage when it slammed into an empty car.  They were airlifted to hospital along with another seriously injured couple following Tuesday’s crash.

The incident on Tuesday (2 June), involved 16 guests and left four seriously injured after two carriages on the parks flagship rollercoaster collided.

Leah Washington and Joe Pugh injured on The Smiler at Alton Towers

Leah Washington and Joe Pugh injured on The Smiler at Alton Towers

Alton Towers has released the following statement regarding the closure:

Following the dreadful incident on The Smiler at Alton Towers theme park yesterday and the decision to close the theme park today, a further decision has been taken for the theme park to remain closed tomorrow Thursday 4th June.

All guests with pre-booked tickets, or those who arrive at the theme park, will have the choice of either having their tickets revalidated for an alternative date or a full refund.

Any guests who have pre-booked tickets also have the option to use their tickets tomorrow at one of the following attractions: Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures or LEGOLAND Windsor. You will need to present your Alton Towers tickets at the attractions admission kiosks to gain entry.

We will be posting all updates on the theme park closure on both our website and social media channels.

The chief executive of Merlin Entertainments – which runs Alton Towers – has spoken about yesterday’s crash in a pre-recorded interview on Channel 4 News.

Nick Varney was asked whether he would ride The Smiler himself following Tuesday’s accident on the rollercoaster.

“Of course I would,” he said. “We operate these rides all the time. Alton Towers has not had an accident like this in its history.

“But one accident is one too many and we’re determined to get top the bottom of it.”

Investigations into the crash are ongoing.