February 25, 2016 / 11:19 AM / 4 years ago

Merlin Entertainments to be prosecuted over Alton Towers crash

An air ambulance flies over the Smiler ride at Alton Towers in Alton, Britain June 2, 2015. Four teenagers were seriously hurt at one of Britain's biggest theme parks on Tuesday when two carriages collided on a rollercoaster ride, rescue workers said. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - British visitor attractions group Merlin Entertainments is to be prosecuted for breaching UK health and safety laws after a rollercoaster crash at its Alton Towers theme park in June last year.

“We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution,” Britain’s Health & Safety Executive said on Thursday.

“This was a serious incident with life-changing consequences for five people.”

In November Merlin’s own investigation found the crash on “The Smiler” ride at the park in Staffordshire, central England, was caused by human error.

Earlier on Thursday Merlin reported flat profit for 2015 held back by a drop in visitors to Alton Towers in the wake of the accident.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young

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