Merlin Entertainments, which was fined £5m after two girls lost legs in a rollercoaster crash, has made improvements to make sure it never happens again.
The group says the Alton Towers theme park that it owns saw trading start to recover over the summer. But it said that visitor numbers are still below levels before last year’s collision that saw five people seriously injured.
Merlin was fined after admitting health and safety breaches that led to two teenage girls – Vicky Balch and Leah Washington – both losing a leg when the Smiler ride crashed. The ride has since reopened.
Health and safety failure
Originally, the theme park put the accident down to “human error”. But prosecutors found that the fault was with the employer, not individuals.
Judge Michael Chambers QC described the incident as a “catastrophic failure” of basic health and safety measures.
Merlin’s chief executive Nick Varney said: “We have learned every lesson from what happened last year and made a number of technical and procedural improvements to make sure that an accident like this cannot happen again.”
Fall in revenue
Lawyers for Merlin say the company saw a £14m drop in revenue as a result of the crash. Since then it has made 30 changes to safety measures, equipment and training.
Merlin says underlying earnings margins will remain tight in 2017. It is now focusing on cutting costs and targeting its marketing in strategic markets.
Date Published: October 2, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown