A group of University of Nottingham students came under fire this week for costumes that closely resembled a replication of the Alton Towers Smiler crash.
The horrific Alton Towers Resort accident occurred last year when two carriages collided on the Smiler ride, trapping 16 passengers and critically injuring four.
One of the victims, Joe Pugh, came across the photo of the Nottingham students and tweeted a link to The Tab article with the words, “How awful and disrespectful can people get? Disgusting”
How awful and disrespectful can people get? Disgusting ???? https://t.co/Nim9pJuo9m— JP (@JoePugh_) October 19, 2016
His girlfriend, Leah Washington, who had her leg amputated as a result of the crash, also tweeted a reference to the photo writing, “Some people are so disrespectful.”
Some people are so disrespectful ??????— Leah (@leahwashy) October 19, 2016
According to BBC News, Joseph Archer — The Tab reporter who co-wrote the article — said that the students gladly posed for the photos at the beer crawl.
They even reportedly had fake limbs hanging from their costumes, further making it appear that they were reenacting the Alton Towers crash.
"They wanted their pictures taken; they wanted to be in The Tab," Archer said. "They got into the formation of The Smiler ride and on the back row they had limbs hanging off."
The beer crawl was called the “7 Legged,” and in a morbid play on words, the students called themselves the “7 Legless.”
The university is aware of the costume and released a statement saying that administrators expect “to receive a full report” from the students’ union on the incident.
The students involved have since released a formal apology through the students' union.
"The costume was in no way intended to reference the tragedy that occurred on the Smiler roller coaster at Alton Towers. Its design was based on a traditional concept that has existed for several years and no reference was made to the Smiler by the students involved. The students involved further wish to apologize unreservedly to those affected by the Smiler incident for any offense or distress they may have unwittingly caused."
Even if the students were not directly referencing the crash with their costumes, they should have been aware of the implications such a stunt would suggest — especially with the fake limbs added.
It seems as if these students may have known their costume choice was controversial. They likely didn’t expect the photos to go beyond their campus community and thus went forward with the idea.
Now that the actual victims are condemning the costume and The Tab’s photos have gone viral, the students were left with no choice but to apologize and do as much damage control as possible.
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