Owners of Alton Towers admit to health and safety failures over rollercoaster crash

Two people had to have their legs amputated after the accident on the Smiler ride last year

owners, alton, towers, merlin, entertainment, rollercoaster, crash, amputation

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

The owners of the Alton Towers theme park have pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules after a rollercoaster crash.

Two people had their legs amputated after the collision on the Smiler ride in June last year, while three others suffered significant injuries.

Theme park operator Merlin indicated a guilty plea to a charge of breaching the UK's Health and Safety at Work Act.

Merlin faces a hefty fine following a brief hearing at North Staffordshire justice centre. 

Alton Towers reopened the Smiler ride last month - nine months after the accident.

The theme park said in a statement it had "sought to learn every possible lesson to help ensure there is no repeat of what happened".

Two teenage passengers - Vicky Balch and Leah Washington - each lost a leg in the aftermath of the accident.

Their carriage collided with a stationary car on the ride.

Miss Washington's boyfriend, Joe Pugh, broke both knees and endured extensive hand injuries.

Another passenger suffered a fractured leg and a punctured lung, while the fifth injured visitor suffered internal bleeding.