Smiler accident victims wish ride would remain closed longer

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Victims of the Smiler rollercoaster crash say they wish the ride would remain closed. Joe Pugh and Vicky Balch spoke on the eve of the ride reopening for the new season at Alton Towers. They suffered life-changing injuries when the carriage smashed into another car at the Staffordshire theme park last June. Miss Balch, along with another passenger, Leah Washington, had to have a leg amputated.

Read more from The BBC.

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Vater's avatar

"I understand it's a business and it's what they have to do. I just didn't think it'd be so soon. It's only nine months, it's not a very long time.
"But at the end of the day it feels like the money comes before the people on the ride."

I certainly don't pretend to relate to the distress these people have endured, but thinking logically and practically, what's a long enough time to wait, and how would keeping it closed benefit them?

kpjb's avatar

I have to agree. It's not like they opened it 45 minutes later. I don't see how keeping the attraction closed for an arbitrary amount of time would benefit the victims. Each one probably has a different timeframe to psychologically recover from such an incident.


Well, for some, understandably, there's never enough time.
I mean, how many reminders will be forever out there for these poor folks? Starting with anytime someone smiles....

It will be interesting to see how public opinion/reaction affects the overall ridership this coming season.

Last edited by RCMAC,
Vater's avatar

"I'm not going on Smiler - It isn't safe!"

janfrederick's avatar

I feel horribly for these folks...But should every intersection on our roadways where someone was seriously injured due to human error be closed?

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Jeff's avatar

I think the only reason that this is a story is because the British press seems pretty obsessed with it. The Daily Mail and The Mirror have essentially published the same story over and over again.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

If the ride has been repaired, staff has been retrained, and everything is good to go, there is no need to keep it closed at this point just for the sake of keeping it closed.

If I were at the park this weekend and it is open, I would ride it. My guess is operations at Alton Towers are safer than ever now.

This does remind me of Steel Dragon in Japan which had to be closed for a set amount of time because of a situation simply so the amount of time could run out.

Carrie J.'s avatar

I have to agree that this is not a story. The only thing sillier than interviewing the victims about their reactions to the coaster reopening would be judging the victims for their responses. They have every right to never want it to open again. And the park has every right to reopen it whenever they've completely addressed the issues. And the guests of the park have every right to ride it once it reopens.

Now if someone wanted to report on the public's reaction to it reopening, that might be an interesting story. But likely, there's nothing juicy to print about that.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Raven-Phile's avatar

Personally, I was fairly certain this ride wasn't going to operate again, or at least it wouldn't reopen as the same ride. I'm glad I was proven wrong, although I think I would feel very strange if I were to ride in the front seat.

LostKause's avatar

I'm sure the accident will be a hot topic with the people waiting in line.

I saw a report that Smiler opened Saturday to one of the biggest crowds ever, all anxious and eager to ride the reopened coaster.
So there ya go.

janfrederick's avatar

I'm guessing the popularity of the Whizzer also spiked when it reopened after its accident in the early 80s.

Last edited by janfrederick,
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

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