More than a month after British theme park Alton Towers became a disaster zone when its Smiler ride malfunctioned, seriously injuring four people, another rollercoaster broke down yesterday, which was the hottest day of the year so far. The broken down car was alleged to have helped trap more than eighty people on and around the ride for two hours, the Metro newspaper reports.
On the same day the United Kingdom experienced the hottest daytime temperatures since 2003, the theme park’s Air rollercoaster seized up, causing dozens of thrillseekers to be suspended upside-down mid-air for twenty minutes. Another eighty visitors hoping to follow them onto Air were stuck in sweltering carriages for more than an hour after two monorail trains stopped.
At the beginning of last month, sixteen people on a rollercoaster car on the recently opened Smiler were injured when it collided with an empty car parked further down the ride after the safety braking mechanisms failed. Two of the injured visitors had legs amputated due to their horrific injuries.
A spokesman said delays were ‘within expected levels’ and the monorail would re-open on Thursday.
It took an hour for Alton Towers staff to remove 80 people off the monorail using the evacuation walkways installed for such emergencies.
Guests trapped on the Air ride were rescued “within standard operating procedures”, according to the theme park’s management. Nobody was injured in the rollercoaster malfunction, and there are no reports of damage to the ride. After the Smiler incident, Alton Towers agreed to pay compensation to the affected and also to review their safety and maintenance policies.
Air is a fast-paced ride that promises visitor they will “experience the feeling of flying” as they sail into the clouds and through the resort’s trees. It is located in the Forbidden Valley section of the park and stands at a height of 20 metres. Its cars can reach speeds of 75 kilometres per hour along the 850 metre long track and was built at a cost of GBP £12 million. Air can accommodate 1,500 riders per hour.
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“Alton Towers’ Air rollercoaster broke down for two hours trapping 80 people upside down” – Carri-Ann Taylor, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (2 July 2015) http://metro.co.uk/2015/07/02/alton-towers-air-breaks-down-leaving-guests-stranded-upside-down-5275895/?ito=facebook
“Air” – Alton Towers Resort, Alton Towers Resort Operations Limited/Merlin Entertainment Group http://www.altontowers.com/things-to-do/theme-park/air/
“File:Air (Alton Towers) 01.jpg” – Andyfishburne, Wikimedia Commons (15 October 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_(Alton_Towers)_01.jpg