4 Seriously Injured In Roller Coaster Crash

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"The Smiler" at Alton Towers Resort. Staffordshire, England

(CNN) —  A roller coaster car collided with an empty car Tuesday at a UK theme park, leaving four people with serious injuries, officials said.

The crash took place on “The Smiler” at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire.

Sixteen people were on the ride, according to a statement from the park. Everyone was evacuated, and the four with serious injuries were transported to hospitals.

A statement from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said two men, aged 18 and 27, and two women, aged 17 and 19, suffered serious leg injuries. All four were flown to regional hospitals for treatment.

Twelve other people had less serious injuries, the statement said.

“This has been a terrible incident and a devastating day for everyone here. I would like to express my sincerest regret and apology to everyone who suffered injury and distress today and to their families,” said Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which operates Alton Towers.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, and Varney said a full investigation was underway.

“The safety of our visitors is our primary concern. The park will remain closed until we understand better the cause of this dreadful incident,” he said.