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Alton Towers crash victim Vicky Balch ‘not angry’


A woman who lost a leg in a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers has said she does not “see the point of being angry” about what happened.

Victoria Balch, one of 16 people hurt on the Smiler ride in June last year, told the BBC Victoria Derbyshire show things “could have turned out worse”.

She said her self-confidence over wearing a prosthetic leg had improved but she might never get “closure”.

Alton Towers’s operator was fined £5m over the collision.

Ms Balch, 21, and another young woman needed amputations as a result of the rollercoaster car they were riding in smashing into the back of a stationary car at about 50mph.

‘I’m still here’

A judge referred to the incident at the Staffordshire theme park as “needless and avoidable”.

Ms Balch, from Leyland, Lancashire, told Victoria Derbyshire: “For the first couple of weeks after the accident, I was more upset, like ‘Why did it happen to me? Why me? Have I done something?’

“I asked my mum if I was a horrible person, things like that. But I just don’t see the point of being angry. It doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere and it’s not anyone’s fault.

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“I think you’ve got to be angry at something and I’ve not got anything to be angry at. I know things could have turned out worse. I’m still here. I can still live and get on with it.”

Earlier this year, Ms Balch posed for a photoshoot in which she wore lingerie. She has moved from using a basic mechanical leg to a computerised version, which she says allows her to stay upright more easily, even when it is not braced.

And she is due to try out a “blade”, with the aim of taking up running again. “I’m learning to enjoy how I am now,” she said.

Ms Balch has revisited Alton Towers as part of her recovery and hopes to take up driving again soon.

“When you wake up every day and you don’t see your leg, I think you’ve got to rationalise it at some point,” she said.

“It’s getting on with your life and I think you can’t get on with your life and be happy with yourself until you not necessarily get over it, but you rationalise it.

“I think I’ve dealt with it a lot better than other people could have. I could have gone completely the opposite way. I could hate how I am now, but I’m trying to make a difference to other people.”

Last month, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, which runs Alton Towers, admitted breaching the Health and Safety Act and was fined £5m.

Stafford Crown Court heard how the Smiler was operated in winds that were too strong, with judge Michael Chambers QC ruling the “underlying fault was an absence of a structured and considered system” to deal with faults.

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Ms Balch said attending the court case had been “draining”, adding: “I don’t think I’ll ever get closure from anything like this, but I’m the kind of person that needs to know everything about it and why it happened, how it happened and exactly what happened.”

In court she watched video footage of the crash. “I didn’t cry but there was just a little tear because I knew what was coming,” she said.

“The people on the ride, working on it, were working to the best of their ability,” she said. “They were working as they know how to work, so I’m not angry, I’m not cross.

“I’m more annoyed because there should have been proper training in place, like there is now.”



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