The Smiler - General Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott, 11th Jun 2013.

  1. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    There are just too many variables to be sure where blame may lay.

    It could be badly positioned footers
    It could be Gerst
    It could be the supplier of the bolts themselves (coaster manufacturers wont make their own) providing a duff batch.

    It could just be one of those things.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    They oversaw the construction process and signed the ride off - they have ultimate responsibility as the engineers of the project. They chose to weld unconventional support fittings and ratchet track into place etc.
     
  3. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Where is the source that that is an unconventional way of doing things?

    Seriously if you can prove that only Gerst do that then i am happy to be wrong, just get the feeling it's an assumption because people want to find some blame.

    And Gerst did not oversee footer construction, maybe they had to work around errors at that stage.

    Or maybe they are at fault, the point is no-one here knows.
     
  4. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    Hi, I've just signed up. I was there for the weekend this weekend.

    We went on The Smiler yesterday and loved it, and because we had the entry for today as well we went straight there this morning. We arrived before they opened the ride entrance, and queued for half an hour until the entrance was opened. We were pleased that the queue went down quickly once inside the actual ride queue.
    Then we heard a loud clang, my friend was facing part and she saw the 8" bolt fall down. After that people from the area started moving away. There were 3 cars still on the ride and they all made it back to safety.
    At first people were saying it was a mobile phone or shoe but the bang was too loud.
    Then it was announced that there were technical difficulties and it was closing.
    My partner had the camera and people spotted a gap on the track. We were near some children and we told them it was just to allow the expansion of the track in hot weather.
    My partner got the camera out and took some photos of the gap and zoomed in. We could clearly see the missing bolt.

    We carried on around the park and later bumped into someone from the Smiler queue who was near us. He told us that they were giving away Fast Track passes as compensation.
    As it was nearer the end of the day and I had to go home to collect my son, my partner went to see Guest Services to see what they could do. Fast Track was no good for us.

    In front of him in Guest Services was the mother of a 13 year old boy who was hit in the back by the falling bolt. He was taken to hospital with bruising to his back. VERY VERY lucky that it wasn't his head! :eek:
    They obviously didn't want fast track or return passes, she said they never wanted to come here again. The younger children were scared off roller coasters and rides completely. She said she took them to some of the tamer rides and one of the younger ones said "Are you trying to get us killed?"

    Quite scary stuff really. My boyfriend is going to send his photographs to Alton Towers, but we have only been home for about an hour.

    We think it has been caused by expansion in the hot weather followed by contraction in the cooler weather this weekend.
     
  5. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    Also when we looked at the images on the camera and zoomed in even more, we could see a second nut was coming loose.

    People were being told that the ride was safely operational with one bolt missing, but if that second one had come undone the track would have come apart.

    People were tweeting and commenting on facebook, but from what I can see - #TheSmiler hashtag was deactivated and my friend said that tweets were being pulled from twitter.
     
  6. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Thankyou for the eyewitness account, lisadj. Is there any chance you could upload the photos so we can see them?
     
  7. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    If you want a forum where everything has to be independently verified by a decades-old news organisation then that's fine. However, there are people that exist that have the engineering understanding - or even common sense - to apply certain 'suppositions' with confidence.

    It is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide a ride that has been constructed properly - there can be challenging of that fact. It is obvious. It is irrelevant if people are employed by Gerstlauer or not as Gerstlauer quality assurance and control is responsible for reviewing all aspect's of the ride's construction. The only way there they could not be blamed is if they have been the victims of fraud from their own staff or contractors.
     
  8. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    I will do, just getting them off the camera.
     
  9. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    No but a forum involves people debating points of view, i disagree with yours so i am debating it, that doesn't mean i want a forum with any particular style at all thanks, though i certainly don't want to be part of one where only one point-of-view is allowed.

    Gerst are one part of the construction, you also have the ultimate point that the H&S executive signed off on the build. Responsibility may ultimately lie with Gerst but Fault and responsibility don't always go together.

    If it was a faulty bolt from a 3rd party supplier, the fault would lie with that supplier but the responsibility would be with Gerst.
     
  10. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    With one bolt assembly missing, it would have created a stress increase on the remaining two bolt assemblies and they could fail relatively quickly. I think if it was staff that were claiming the ride could be safely operated, then they were stretching the truth slightly. I'm sure a train or two could pass without incident but it would hardly be a desirable situation.

    I think it's easiest if you ask that if this section has caused sufficient stresses to cause one of three bolt assemblies to fail, how long it would have taken the remaining two to fail.
     
  11. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    We think that the staff were deliberately not given information, so that they couldn't say too much iykwim. The man that told us about getting fast track passes as compensation for the problem was told that it was a 'fake bolt' :eek:
     
  12. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    If you ask someone for a source of a statement then it doesn't come across that you have considered someone's personal knowledge, experience and education. If you had asked me what made me think that then I would have been less concerned.

    Gerstlauer will be in receipt of certification/documentation of the bolts' specification and load-bearing ability. As I said, they have either made an error in their use or been the victim of fraud - I can see no other plausible explanation (not that fraud is particularly plausible).
     
  13. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    Or, and bear with me here, it could have been an accident. There will be a certain percentage of bolts from that manufacturer that don't meet specification, this could have just been the one in whatever that failed.
     
  14. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Alton Towers will not release any information about this.

    It's just like the Monorail incident last year, not a word will be spoken apart from any eyewitness accounts and Chinese whispers.

    A bolt coming out does sound awfully bad. But it's a bit hard to point a finger (easy to blame the manufacturer - the problem may lie elsewhere) so I would be inclined to stay sitting on the fence for now.
     
  15. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    From that second image, it looks like the nut has started to work loose which could point to either poor maintenance or poor fixing choice in the first place?
     
  18. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    It's the "these things happen" and "accidents do occur" statements that I take issue with really. Blame can always be given and it is important to identify who deserves it.

    This was a highly serious incident that too many people are quick to laugh off.
     
  19. lisadj

    lisadj TowersStreet Member

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    yes we noticed the second nut that was starting to work loose.
     
  20. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    Great images, thanks lisadj.
     

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