Alton Towers owner faces prosecution over rollercoaster crash

Two people lost a leg in the aftermath of the accident last year

Alton Towers, The Smiler, crash, prosecution, Merlin, England,

Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire unveils The Smiler in 2013 | Image: Fabio De Paola / PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Health and Safety Executive in Britain says the owner of Alton Towers is to be prosecuted over last year's rollercoaster crash that left five people seriously hurt.

The announcement was made hours after the Staffordshire park's parent firm, Merlin Entertainments, announced a slight increase in annual profits despite a substantial fall in visitor numbers to Alton Towers.

Two guests each lost a leg in the aftermath of the accident on June 2nd when a carriage containing riders collided with an empty one on 'The Smiler'.

The crash was the subject of an immediate Health and Safety Executive probe, and was blamed on human error.

The ride remains closed ahead of a planned reopening sometime this year.

The Health and Safety Executive said: "We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law".

"This was a serious incident with life changing consequences for five people".

"We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution".

Merlin was yet to comment.

The company closed Alton Towers completely for four days immediately after the collision.

It also suspended some rides at other attractions to carry out checks and visitor numbers at its theme parks tailed off.

Merlin later blamed falling business at Alton Towers for its decision to announce a restructuring at the park, potentially resulting in 190 job losses.

The group also owns British attractions such as Legoland, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye.