Alton Towers visitors left stuck upside-down for thirty minutes after ride grinds to a halt
Panicked passengers on a roller coaster at Alton Towers were left stuck in the air for thirty minutes after heavy rain stopped the ride.
The 28 thrillseekers on board the Galactica ride, which only opened in March, were left facing the ground in the pouring rain until they were rescued.
The virtual reality rollercoaster reaches heights of 20m (65ft) and straps passengers in a “prone position”, meaning they lie horizontally, with their backs towards the sky.
It ground to a halt at the top of the first incline at around 2pm on Monday, when visitors flocked to the park to enjoy the May bank holiday.
One eyewitness said that because of the design of the ride there was no platform underneath for passengers to exit onto.
A spokesman for Alton Towers, where the Smiler roller coaster crashed last year causing serious injuries to five young people, said the ride had stopped automatically after rain blocked a sensor.
After half an hour staff managed to re-start the roller coaster and bring the riders back to the ground.
The Galactica ride launched earlier this year, in an update to the old ride Air. It is designed to make riders feel like they are travelling through outer space.
One passenger, who was stuck on the ride with six children, said the experience was “terrifying”.
Another visitor to the Staffordshire attraction, Kate Smythe, said: "We were standing underneath it when the ride stopped and all the passengers were screaming and crying, they sounded terrified."
The ride reopened later in the day.
In a statement, Alton Towers attributed the stoppage to a safety feature.
“Heavy rain obscured a sensor on Galactica which meant that the ride was automatically stopped,” a spokesman said.
“This is a standard safety feature on this ride and the ride was working exactly as it is designed to do.
“The health and safety of our guests is our number one priority and our team followed standard procedures to get the guests off as quickly and as safely as possible.”