Bosses at Alton Towers have promised to pay compensation to a pair of Barnsley teenagers injured in last week’s horror rollercoaster crash.
Merlin Entertainments, which owns the theme park, has accepted ‘full responsibility’ for the crash on The Smiler ride.
Leah Washington, who is 17, had her left leg amputated above the knee as a result of the crash, with boyfriend Joe Pugh, 18, breaking both of his knees.
The pair from Barnsley were among the most seriously injured of the 16 people hurt in the crash last Tuesday.
A Merlin Entertainments spokeswoman said the company had written to the injured and the letters were hand delivered by Alton Towers representatives over the weekend.
She added: “We absolutely recognise what a difficult time this is for everyone, especially those who have been so seriously injured, and we have tried to do this in a way that is both sensitive and appropriate.
“Irrespective of the outcome of the current investigations into the causes of the accident, in these letters we have accepted full responsibility to those who had been injured in the accident and confirmed that we will ensure that compensation will be provided to them.
“We have recommended each of the injured guests or their families instruct a lawyer and submit a claim for compensation which we will ensure is dealt with swiftly and sensitively.
“In addition we have engaged the services of Health and Case Management Ltd (HCML) - a leading firm of specialist independent rehabilitation providers - to provide all of those involved with the best support for their individual needs whether from the NHS or by providing additional support and services. HCML have already made contact with some of those affected in order to progress this.”
The families of Leah, Joe and fellow victim Victoria Balch have issued a statement saying they are pleased there has been a formal admission of liability from the insurer in respect of the damages claim.
Paul Paxton, head of Personal Injury at Stewarts Law, said: “I will be meeting with the solicitors acting for Merlin and its insurers this week to discuss the early release of money to assist with financial hardship and rehabilitation.”
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said yesterday: “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.”
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