FOUR teenagers have been seriously injured in a collision on a rollercoaster at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire this afternoon (Tuesday).
Alton Towers resorts have now set up a help line for concerned relatives.
West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 2.09pm to a report that a carriage of “The Smiler” had collided with a stationary unoccupied carriage.
Community first responders based at the theme park were first on scene.
Four ambulances, three Midlands Air Ambulances from Strensham, Cosford and Tatenhill, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, a MERIT trauma doctor and three BASICS doctors, paramedics from the Trusts Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and several senior paramedic managers are currently in attendance.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Of the 16 occupants on board the ride, two teenage boys and two teenage girls, have sustained serious leg injuries.
“A platform has been built up in order for emergency services to reach the occupants on the ride who are approximately 25 feet up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees.
“Our HART paramedics, doctors, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Alton Towers’ rope rescue staff are working at height to carefully release and treat the four seriously injured teenagers. The 12 other occupants on the ride are said to have suffered minor injuries and it’s hoped that they will be discharged from the scene.
“Once released from the ride, all four seriously injured teenagers will be airlifted to major trauma centres at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and Royal Stoke University Hospital for further emergency treatment.”
Staffordshire’s Fire and Rescue Service has sent four pumps, an aerial ladder, a rescue tender and rope rescue to the scene of the accident.
In a statement, Alton Towers said: “A platform had been constructed to ensure the ‘safe and timely evacuation of guests’.
“There has been an incident on the Smiler this afternoon involving two carriages coming together on a low section of the track.
“One of the carriages was empty and the other had 16 guests in.
“The emergency services including the air ambulance are now in attendance and are assisting resort staff as they work to evacuate those 16 people still on the ride.
“We can confirm that four guests have sustained serious injuries, and they are being treated at the scene until they can be evacuated.
Alton Towers has set up a helpline for concerned relatives on 0800 230 0770.
The Smiler opened in May 2013 – and the ride was affected by two incidents within the space of just six months.
Two months after it opened, in July, a metal bolt fell off the ride – leaving a gap in the track. Some 48 people had to be rescued.
Then, in November 2013, passengers sitting in the front seats of the ride were hit when several of the rollercoaster’s wheels fell off.
Sky News states that this appears to be the seventh incident since The Smiler opened to the public which has led to the rollercoaster being closed for repairs, reviews or accidents.
The resort claims the ride features “a series of twisted psychological effects including optical illusions, blinding lights and near-misses designed to mess with your mind”.
It can travel at top speeds of 53mph, and its highest drop is 98ft. In total, the 3,838ft ride lasts for nearly three minutes.
Tamworth Informed wish to pass on their thoughts to all involved and hope for speedy recoveries.