I've scanned the previous pages of this thread so I hope I'm not repeating anything (or at least not too much
Yes, this will affect Alton's reputation, but only in the short term.
I think it was a BBC News article I read? They interviewed Lyndon Simkin, a 'professor of strategic marketing' about what Alton's reputation will be like post-incident, and I think he hit the nail on the head.
Link to that article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-st ... e-32993933
Everyone knows the 1 in a million of chance of this happening so I won't go on further about that. But I have a problem with people talking about and demanding and/or speculating that the ride will be closed down.
Merlin wouldn't just throw away an £18 million investment, let alone it only being 2/3 years old. Obviously, long discussions and the current investigation that's taking place are necessary and the problem has to be analysed to ensure that something like this will never happen again.
At first, I'll admit that I too jumped to conclusions and immediately thought that the problem must lie with the ride operators. Reading through this thread, and reading through a different article (with Justin Garvanovic, head of the European Coaster Club), I realised how incredibly misleading that pre-judgement was.
This article argues that the fault must have been somewhere in the technical system:
"There are loads of sensors scattered all over the ride looking for problems, mainly checking no-one's fallen on the ride, especially in the station area."
"If the sensors spot something, the ride will automatically stop and that's why sometimes you'll see a train stuck on a lift, maybe once a day for five minutes, until they realise it's probably a bird or something. The sensors should absolutely have picked up on that. If the sensors had failed, that should have caused it to stop as well."
Most media services reporting on the incident also referenced the problem when those journalists rode The Smiler, but as Garvanovic says:
"When the journalists got stuck on The Smiler on the preview ride, the sensors will have picked something up on the track and emergency stopped the train. That's exactly what it should have done. It shows the ride was working safely."
So obviously, The Smiler is not the metal nightmare that the media are portraying it as. The media won't report on that however, but that's a completely different topic...
At the end of the day, I think there will be uncertainty within the general public for the next few weeks. But it will die down eventually, just like the Runaway Mine Train Incident
did, and the Big Dipper Incident at Blackpool
Of course, my thoughts are with the families affected and the people who were on the ride at the time. I wish them a safe and speedy recovery.