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Thrill-seekers left dangling on Alton Towers' Smiler ride


Alton Towers has commented after its ride The Smiler froze, loeaving 32 people trapped in mid air today.

They told The Sun Online: "Alton Towers Resort stopped The Smiler to investigate claims a piece of debris that had fallen from a carriage".

Five people were seriously injured in the incident and an investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary vehicle on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash.

Some 16 people were on board one of its carriages when it collided in June previous year with a stationary carriage at 52mph, causing severe injuries to riders.

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Guests were removed and the ride was closed for the fault to be investigated, an Alton Towers spokesperson said.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted a breach of health and safety rules over the incident.

Pictures from the scene show a carriage on its way up a vertical section of the ride's track, with people in their seats facing up.

Eyewitness Liam Dennett was with his family from Cheltenham who were queuing for the Smiler ride when "everything just stopped".

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He posted videos on Facebook showing people stuck on the rollercoaster.

As a result, the full carriage ploughed into the back of the empty vehicle, leaving Leah Washington, 18, and Vicky Balch, 21, needing leg amputations.

Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire has commented on today's incident.

An Alton Towers spokesman said in March: 'We have sought to learn every possible lesson to help ensure there is no repeat of what happened.

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It is not known how long they were stranded in the air, though some people on Twitter estimate it could have been up to 30 minutes.

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