Many hurt on Alton Towers ride

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Investigations are continuing at Alton Towers after a total of 29 people were injured on a roller-coaster.

Six people were taken to hospital after the accident at the UK’s most famous theme park. The front carriages of the Runaway Mine Train, which had 46 passengers on it at the time, became separated and subsequently crashed back into the rest of the ride at the Staffordshire theme park.

A Staffordshire Ambulance spokesman said two women, aged in their 30s or 40s, were flown by air ambulance to North Staffordshire Hospital suffering possible whiplash, spinal or abdominal injuries. A third woman was taken by land ambulance to the same hospital and a man is thought to have made his own way to a casualties centre in Leek. Two other people were taken to Accident and Emergency later, and the other people who were injured were treated for cuts and bruises on the premises.

The ride, which opened in 1990 and is one of Alton Towers oldest attractions, was immediately evacuated and closed to the public. Alton Towers and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating the incident which occurred at 11:00am local time on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the theme park announced that “the ride has been closed and will remain so whilst a thorough investigation is carried out”. It is unclear how long the ride will be closed for, but the rest of the theme park will stay open.

On the Alton Towers website, customers are told the Runaway Mine Train lets them “rattle along the rickety rails and mine shafts, past trees and rivers, on a speeding locomotive that’s out of control - and getting faster every second” .

The roller coaster was manufactured by Mack Rides, and is situated in the Katanga Canyon area of the theme park. The train normally makes two circuits for each ride, but on quiet days, it has been known to make three.