(Adds comments from Merlin Entertainment)
LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) - One of four teenagers seriously injured last week in a roller coaster crash at one of Britain’s biggest theme parks has had a leg amputated, hospital officials said on Monday.
Leah Washington, 17, underwent an amputation above the left knee. She also suffered a fractured left hand, the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust said in a statement. Joe Pugh, 18, who was with her on the ride, suffered two broken knees, the hospital added.
Washington was one of four people seriously injured on the “Smiler” ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, central England, last Tuesday when two carriages collided.
British firm Merlin Entertainments Plc, which operates the park, said it took full responsibility for those injured and would provide compensation to all sixteen victims.
“We are deeply saddened by the news about Leah and all our thoughts are with her and her family. We cannot undo the events of last week but everyone in the company and at Alton Towers is determined to do all we can to provide appropriate support to those who were injured and their families.” Chief Executive Nick Varney said in a statement.
The company said that each of the victims or their families could submit compensation claims, which would be dealt with “swiftly and sensitively”.
Washington’s father, David, said in a statement: ”Leah has suffered a life-changing injury and now has many months of rehabilitation ahead of her.
“We would like to thank all the emergency services at the scene and all the hospital staff who saved Leah’s life.”
The park re-opened on Monday but the Smiler and similar rides at other Merlin parks remain closed while an investigation into the crash continues.
Merlin said on Friday that increased safety measures had been introduced.
Shares in the company have fallen 4 percent in a week on reports that it was losing 500,000 pounds ($760,000) a day while the park was shut. (Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Stephen Addison and Robin Pomeroy)