THRILL-SEEKERS were left dangling upside-down on Alton Tower’s Air rollercoaster – just four weeks after the horrific Smiler crash left two girls needing leg amputations
Theme park bosses say the ride broke down on Wednesday after experiencing “technical issues.”
Passengers were left stranded in mid-air for 20 minutes on the hottest day of the year before they were rescued.
Eye-witnesses say riders were left in tears after the ride abruptly stopped half-way round the dizzying circuit.
Emma Gray, 34, said: “It was scary, especially after the Smiler crash. You could hear people screaming ‘help, help’ but they were just left stranded almost completely upside down.
“I don’t know what caused it to stop but someone said they overheard a worker on the ride say the heat might have caused the rails to buckle.
“It was proper hot, probably 35 or even 40 degrees in the park itself. Thank god no one was hurt.
“Alton Towers needs to examine their rides much more carefully.”
After the riders were rescued, Air re-opened on Tuesday afternoon.
Just hours later, 80 people were stuck inside the mono-rail for about an hour after two of the trains broke down at 5.25pm.
Alton Towers yesterday dismissed the problems with the rides and insisted they were “within standard operating procedures.”
A spokesperson said: “Air had a minor technical stoppage.
“The whole process of clearing guests from the area took 20 minutes which is within standard operating procedures.
“The ride opened shortly after the minor delay. Guests (and the media) are more focused on any minor delay or technical stoppage at the current time, but any delays that we are experiencing now are within our expected level and will be dealt with according to our stringent processes; rides will reopen as appropriate.
“Alton Towers puts the health and safety of its guests at the forefront of everything it does, which means that from time to time rides will be closed to allow for technical issues to be reviewed.
“We do understand that this can be inconvenient for our guests and we will keep them as informed as we are able to throughout any delays, but we will not operate a ride if there is any suggestion of a safety compromise.”
Vicky Balch, 20, and Leah Washington, 17, had leg amputations after The Smiler rollercoaster crashed into a stationary carriage on June 2.
The £18 million ride remains closed while investigations continue into the cause of the crash.