Alton Towers roller coaster crash hits operator’s profits

The operator of Staffordshire-based theme park, Alton Towers, has announced that its profits will take a hit as a result of the serious roller coaster crash at the park in June this year, the BBC has reported.

Park owner Merlin Entertainments announced yesterday that its profits could suffer by as much as £47 million following the accident. The temporary closure of the park and the adverse effect that the crash had on trade at the beginning of the important summer visitor season were offered as the main reasons behind the forecast. Profits for the company’s theme parks division for the year are now forecast to be between £40 and £50 million, compared to the £87 million that it achieved last year.

The crash also impacted on Merlin’s other sites, with advertising suspended and some rides temporarily closed. Fallout from the crash could continue to impact on the business into 2016.

The incident took place on the Smiler roller coaster on June 2. Sixteen people were injured when their car collided with an empty car that had stopped on the track. Several of the victims suffered serious injuries, with 17-year-old Leah Washington’s leg injury requiring amputation. There were several other leg injuries, and one rider suffered a punctured lung.

All 16 of the victims will receive compensation, with initial payments having been made last month.

Chief executive, Nick Varney, said: ‘The accident at Alton Towers in June was a devastating event, for which we have accepted responsibility and are deeply sorry.

‘We have been humbled by the grace and fortitude of those who were injured, and their families, and will continue to do whatever we can to support them.’ He added that reclaiming its position as the UK’s number 1 theme park could take Alton Towers 12 to 18 months.

According to Merlin, additional safety protocols have been introduced to prevent a similar accident from happening in future.