Amputee Leah Washington, doctors, rescuers detail efforts following Smiler accident

Posted Sunday, August 9, 2015 9:40 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Leah Washington, 18, lost her leg in horror Alton Towers crash. Now, she tells her heartbreaking story and reveals how her young life has been changed forever.

Read more from The Daily Mail.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015 10:28 AM

I still think it was a combination of both human and mechanical error. You could never call me an engineer, but the way I understand the blocking system, two trains should never have been able to go into the same area, and the fact that they did indicates there was a massive failure somewhere in the electronics.

It still is beyond me how anyone does test runs without checking to make sure the last test car came back safely before loading a new car, and that's certainly the easiest way to prevent something like this from happening. However, if the blocks weren't working correctly, maybe this would have eventually happened no matter what.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015 10:40 AM
rollergator's avatar

I'm going with my original idea (probably not mine, but...); to override a sensor stoppage, it should require two humans to independently verify that the issue is a sensor problem and not an actual block violation before sending a train into a block that the computer has identified as occupied.

edit: my impression here is that the board op (alone) pressed a "go" button that dispatched the computer-stopped car from the lift when the previous empty car had not returned. Could very well be wrong, but those seem to be the facts as we have them at this point.

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, August 12, 2015 10:43 AM

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015 10:45 AM
Rick_UK's avatar

bunky666 said:

I still think it was a combination of both human and mechanical error. You could never call me an engineer, but the way I understand the blocking system, two trains should never have been able to go into the same area, and the fact that they did indicates there was a massive failure somewhere in the electronics.

The ride has a unique lift in which the train can be lowered to the ground backwards, it may be that the car was to be reversed but was sent forwards instead, in manual mode.

What you suggest isn't practical, if the train that stalled was craned off, as would be normal - you would need the option to send the train over the crest into the occupied block.


Nothing to see here. Move along.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015 11:50 AM

I think you misunderstood me, RickUK, but I see what you mean. Still, you'd think that if the train stalled and never hit the next block, there was a failure that allowed the second carriage with the passengers to enter the same section of track, and that's what I mean about the system malfunction.

Of course, your point is valid too. If the ride was stalled and was in a testing or maintenance mode, could the blocks been not turned on at points and therefore not registered the issue? Was this where the whole accident turns into 100% human error? Interesting, and so very sad.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 8:01 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

The Intamin second gen drop tower which caused that accident now resides at SFStL.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 8:59 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I may have missed it, but did anyone mention all the drama of when smiler's track came apart? Cause that happened Too, and you can darn well figure people close to the park remember that now.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 9:34 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

ApolloAndy said:

The Intamin second gen drop tower which caused that accident now resides at SFStL.

No.

SFStl's ride opened in 2006, SFKK's incident happened in 2007, it remained SBNO for the rest of the season and was dismantled, it never operated again.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 11:10 PM
LostKause's avatar

That's what I recall too. Hellivator was dismantled and not sent to another park, as far as I know.

Both the Hellivator incident and this one make me feel terrible. Every time I read something about them I feel a very sad lump in my stomach.


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Friday, August 14, 2015 7:30 AM

SFStL's ride came from Astroworld. Hellevator was the first free fall tower and wasn't as tall as most that came after it.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 10:06 AM
Pete's avatar

bunky666 said:

If the ride was stalled and was in a testing or maintenance mode, could the blocks been not turned on at points and therefore not registered the issue? Was this where the whole accident turns into 100% human error? Interesting, and so very sad.

That is what I'm thinking. The computer stopped the train on the lift because the block ahead was occupied. For some reason, someone thought it was okay to send the train and the safety system was put into manual mode and the lift was restarted.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 11:10 AM

It's been nearly 2 decades since I operated a coaster on a regular basis, but I never remember the block system going away just because you were operating in manual mode. In fact, on some rides, you operated the ride in manual mode to test the integrity of the block system. Arrow mine train and 1st gen Intamin freefall were 2 that I specifically remember testing that way.


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Friday, August 14, 2015 5:31 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

ApolloAndy said:

The Intamin second gen drop tower which caused that accident now resides at SFStL.

No.

SFStl's ride opened in 2006, SFKK's incident happened in 2007, it remained SBNO for the rest of the season and was dismantled, it never operated again.

Whoops. Sorry.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 9:58 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

No you're not. Stop lying.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 11:55 AM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Ha!

No need to apologize. No worries. And Tek, don't make me separate you and Apollo!

Rob

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 2:43 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Andy started it.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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