Alton Towers ride breaks down leaving passengers 100ft in the air

Alton Towers Smiler rollercoaster breaks down leaving passengers hanging 100ft in the air for 20 minutes – four years after a crash on the ride left 16 people injured

  • The popular theme park ride came to a halt with a carriage full of thrill-seekers 
  • Passengers were stranded for 20 minutes before engineers reversed the ride
  • Comes just one month after the park was forced to close the Wicker Man ride 

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers left people hanging 100ft in the air today for 20 minutes after it broke down.

Just before 6PM this evening a carriage full of daredevils at the Stoke-on-Trent theme park came to a halt as the ride started to climb.

Thrill-seekers were stranded for 20 minutes and were forced to wait for engineers to fix the problem.

Workers reversed the carriage back down to the start of the ride, allowing passengers to get off.

The incident happened just four years after a crash on the ride which left 16 people injured. 

Passengers were stranded on the ride today which stopped for around 20 minutes at the Stoke-on-Trent park

One Twitter user who was stood at the foot of the ride, posted footage of the incident at the park earlier today.

An Alton Towers spokesman said: ‘We apologise to all guests affected by the stoppage on The Smiler late this afternoon.

‘Our guest relations team have spoken to everyone on board to offer return tickets to the park as compensation for the inconvenience.

‘Our technical team are working to reset the ride this evening so this should not affect guests visiting the park tomorrow.’

It comes just one month after the park was forced to close its Wicker Man ride unexpectedly, after engineers were called in to fix a fault with the park’s newest attraction.

In 2015 Leah Washington had been on a date with boyfriend Joe Pugh when the Smiler rollercoaster carriage smashed into a stationary train.

Leah from Barnsley, was one of two young passengers who lost a leg while Joe, suffered devastating injuries himself including two shattered kneecaps.

Brave Leah’s £60,000 prosthetic leg – which contains a microprocessor knee – will need replacing every few years, which will amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds over her lifetime

Leah was on her first proper date with boyfriend Joe Pugh when the Smiler rollercoaster carriage smashed into a stationary train at Alton Towers, in Staffordshire, during June 2015 (seen)

In spite the trauma of the crash, the pair have stayed together and often post pictures of their days out on social media.

Despite having a state-of-the-art £60,000 prosthetic leg which allows her to walk unaided, the teenager still suffers crippling pain and fatigue after standing for long periods.

What happened during the Alton Towers Smiler crash?

On June 2, 2015, visitors were removed from the Alton Towers Smiler ride after a warning light indicated a fault.

Staff sent a test train around the track, but it didn’t make it around. Due to a breakdown in communication, staff did not realise this carrigage was still sitting on the track.

Passengers were let back on but as the first carriage made its way around, the computer system stopped it because it showed something was blocking the track.

Engineers were still not aware that there was a fifth carriage sitting on the track and overrode a fault which had been detected by the computer system, sending the ride crashing into an empty carriage with the force of a ’90mph car crash’.

At least 16 were injured and five people were seriously hurt. 

Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and Vicky Balch from Leyland, Lancashire, were both forced to undergo leg amputations as a result of the horror crash.

The Smiler at Alton Park, where 16 people were injured in a 2015 collision (file picture). An investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary car on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash

Joe Pugh, also from Barnsley, and Daniel Thorpe, 28, from Buxton, Derbyshire, also suffered serious leg injuries, along with 49-year-old Chandaben Chauhan.

The trapped ride-goers had to wait more than four hours to be freed from the crumpled carriage while rescue workers battled to reach them as they sat 25ft up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees, pinned in by the mangled metal. 


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