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May 3, 2016

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Dozens stuck on rollercoaster at Alton Towers during heavy rain

Heavy rain caused a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers to come to a halt yesterday, leaving dozens of people stranded.

Galactica, a new ride which stimulates space travel using virtual reality headsets, automatically stopped when heavy rain obscured a sensor.

Twenty-eight riders where stuck lying face down near the top of the highest drop of 20m for 20 minutes during the downpour.

A spokesperson for Alton Towers said: “This is a standard safety feature on this  ride the the ride was working exactly as it is designed to do.”

This incident, which happened on Bank Holiday Monday, took place less than a year after the Smiler rollercoaster crash at the theme park, which left two women needing to have legs amputated.

Merlin Attractions, the theme park’s owner, has pleaded guilty to the incident and the case has been sent to the Crown Court for sentencing.

Amelia Watkins, 14, Shrewsbury, was on the ride with a friend when it was halted. She said people in front of them were crying and shouting for help, but staff climbed up to reassure them.

Her mother Debbie, was watching at the ride was stopped.

She said: “They were shaken and wet because it was hammering it down with rain. Their hands were icy cold.”

The friends said they were able to take off their virtual reality headsets when they felt the carriage stop, before realising they were stuck.

People in front of them were crying and shouting for help, they said, but staff climbed up to reassure them.

Mrs Watkins said: “They were shaken and wet because it was hammering it down with rain. Their hands were icy cold.”

Galactica opened last month and is a £12m upgrade from a previous rollercoaster attraction called Air.

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