Horrifying moment 100ft Alton Towers rollercoaster breaks down leaving thrill-seekers stuck vertically mid-air

14 July 2023, 16:19 | Updated: 14 July 2023, 16:56

Riders got stuck on the rollercoaster mid-air vertically.
Riders got stuck on the rollercoaster mid-air vertically. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

This is the moment Alton Towers passengers were left dangling mid-air on the theme park attraction after the ride appeared to break down.

Footage shared online showed thrill-seekers on the popular ride being slowly lowered down its vertical slope after what seemed to be a ride error.

Passengers on the ride were shown being gradually let down in the video, as park staff worked to get those on the ride back to safety.

The Smiler ride, based in the Staffordshire theme park, already has a disturbing history after an accident in 2015.

Four people involved in the 2015 accident were seriously injured, including one woman who had to have her leg amputated.

A video was shared on Thursday of the ride’s breakdown, with one person captioning it: “Not the smiler at Alton Towers breaking down whilst they’re vertical mid-air.”

The ride was launched in 2013 as the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster, which reaches speed of up to 85km/hr.

Responding to the footage online, one commenter said: “We were the one right before, oh my days.”

Another added: “Regardless of design there were young school kids on there who were terrified! Rides shouldn't just Stop! It has to be unsafe for a safety feature to kick in!”

Read more: Moment Oppenheimer's star-studded cast walk out or premiere on strike as acting unions bring the industry to a halt

Read more: English woman who suddenly woke up with a Welsh accent appeals for medical help

Terrifying moment The Smiler in Alton Towers freezes in place

But other commenters were quick to point out that despite the seemingly nightmarish view, it was actually a sign of the ride’s safety features working.

One said: “People need to realise this is perfectly safe and will not cause any harm to the people on the ride.”

“The train going backwards down the lift hill in video 1 is a design feature to allow the ride to return to the bottom of the lift hill for easier evacuation. Yeah it looks scary, and it will be odd to be on it, but that’s the ride working as designed, no one is at risk of harm,” another added.

The ride has experienced other malfunctions since 2015, including in 2019 when riders were left hanging in the air for 20 minutes, just four years after the ride’s serious incident.

Thursday's breakdown comes after passengers across the park were forced to abandon rides mid-climb last month due to adverse weather conditions.

Footage showed individuals being made to leave the rollercoaster by climbing its emergency steps amid the dangerous weather conditions.