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The BBC's Kevin Bouquet
"Two men had to be cut free from the damaged coaches"
 real 56k

Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, David Cam
"It is very important to us that our riders are as safe as possible"
 real 28k

Friday, 1 September, 2000, 06:26 GMT 07:26 UK
14 injured in rollercoaster crash

Blackpool is famed for its fast-moving rides
Two people are in hospital and 12 others suffered minor injuries in a collision on one of the world's tallest rollercoasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Four people were originally trapped in the carriages, but they were freed by firefighters using specialist cutting equipment.


I was knocked out for a few seconds, and when I came to there was panic all around

Injured Ali Akbar Rafsanjani
Emergency services were called to the seaside attraction at 2045BST on Thursday after two carriages crashed.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach management said the accident happened when a train waiting to enter the station on the ride was "bumped" by a second slow-moving train.

The two in hospital, both teenagers, are from a children's home in the resort, said police.

A 13-year-old boy suffered a serious fracture to his right leg and a 15-year-old boy was being treated for back and rib injuries.

It had not been completely stopped by the primary braking system of the ride.

An inquiry has been launched into the cause of the accident on the rollercaster, which is billed by the funfair as The Big One.

'Walking wounded'

Paramedics rushed to the scene to treat the injured.

Glen Curry, a spokeswoman for Lancashire Ambulance Service, said the injured were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

"Most of the people got off the train and were walking wounded," he said.

He said one person had a broken leg and another had spinal injuries, but they were not serious.

Passengers on the second rollercoaster said they knew there was going to be a problem.

Kate Black, 18, from Liverpool, said: "We were aware that there was going to be a problem as soon as we set off because the other rollercoaster seemed to be stuck, but we didn't think it would be a serious thing."

Damage

Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, 26, from Bradford, was treated in hospital for whiplash injuries after he blacked out during the collision.

"I remember being on the ride going round and then all of a sudden when we came to a halt there was a big bang and smash in the back," he said.

"There were screams. I was knocked out for a few seconds, and when I came to there was panic all around. It was chaos, it was really frightening.

"It's put me off going on things like that and will probably give me nightmares. You think the safety measures are OK and then something like this happens."

Eyewitness Chris Mullender told the BBC both carriages were badly damaged.

"What has happened is that both carriages have gone through the breaking system and one has gone into the back of the carriages going into the station.

"The back of one is bent right over.

The front of the second carriage is badly damaged as well."

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