UPDATED: Buxton man named as one of the four people seriously injured in Alton Towers crash

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers.
The Smiler ride at Alton Towers.

A man from Buxton is among the four people seriously injured during a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers earlier this week.

Daniel Thorpe, aged 27 from Harpur Hill, was on the Smiler ride at the theme park on Tuesday afternoon when two carriages crashed, leaving some passengers trapped for four-and-a-half hours about 25ft up in the air.

Daniel, who is assistant manager at The Izaak Walton Hotel in Dovedale, was taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire after suffering leg injuries, where he remains.

His family today (Thursday) confirmed that he underwent surgery at the hospital this morning.

A statement from the hospital said: “We can confirm that Daniel Thorpe is currently being treated at University Hospital in Coventry for injuries following the incident at Alton Towers. His condition is stable.

“His family have asked us to release the following statement on their behalf: “We would like to thank everyone for their wishes at this time and would ask for some privacy while Daniel recovers.”

Shura Prince, General Manager at The Izaak Walton Hotel, said colleagues had been shocked by the news and wished him a speedy recovery.

“Dan was taking a well-earned day off following a busy weekend and it’s awful to hear that what should have been a relaxing and fun day has ended in horror,” she said.

“Dan is an amazing friend and colleague who I have known for many years. Dan is hugely popular and has many close work friends. We are like a big family at The Izaak Walton and Dan’s absence while he recovers from this awful ordeal will leave a huge hole here.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and the other passengers at this difficult time.”

Daniel had previously worked at the Bentley Brook Inn in Fenny Bentley. Landlady Wendy Livingstone said: “He worked here two years ago. He was liked by the customers and staff and enjoyed sport. Of course it has been a shock to us.”

Three other people were seriously injured in the accident and were taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital.

They are Joe Pugh, 18, and his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, both from Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

The other person has now been named as Vicky Balch, 19, from Leyland in Lancashire.

Another 12 people involved in the crash required medical treatment.

Health and Safety Executives are now investigating the cause of the incident and have closed the Staffordshire theme park until further notice.

Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands, said: “Our role is to establish the facts. “We will want to determine that those responsible for operating this ride have done what the law requires.

“We will also ensure that if there are any lessons to be learned they are shared as soon as possible.”

A number of HSE inspectors have been specially trained to form its National Fairground Inspection Team (NFIT).

The team investigating this incident is being supported on site by specialists in mechanical engineering, electrics and control systems from HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton.

This is not the first time the ride has encountered safety concerns.

The £18 million rollercoaster, which boasts a world record 14 loops, has been closed on two previous occasions because of safety concerns since opening in 2012.