I Was There: “It was surreal, I didn’t expect it to ever happen”

Lynne's image of the splitting track
By Michael Mander

A bolt fell from the track at Alton Towers, causing the track to separate and put many people off rides for life. Airgates speaks to some of the people in the queue who saw the bolt.

Lynne Skeels: 30-something from Leicester, was in the queue at the time of the incident

“There was a huge bang – all of us in the queue just looked around at each other as if to say ‘what was that?'”

“I thought someone had dropped something from the ride – like a camera or something – but the noise was just too loud.”

“We found out that it was a bolt when a guy who was exiting the queue line told us that it had fallen close to him – then we could see the gap in the track”

“It was a bit surreal to be honest and you don’t expect it to ever happen.”

 

“Quite a few people left straight away because the bolt was close to them, or they had children with them.”

“Within a minute an announcement was made stating the smiler was experiencing ‘technical difficulties’. I decided to stay in the queue for a little bit longer just to see what was going on”

“A technician appeared under the track and informed us it would be closing”

“But it didn’t put me off! I hadn’t been on The Smiler yet and personally I would have gone on it if it had been fixed that day.”

“Our day carried on perfectly normally”

“We were just glad no one on the ride or in the queue was injured.”

“I knew people would Tweet and Facebook about it – it was a serious situation and we did all have that moment of ‘oh my God what’s going to happen next’, but I’m pretty sure the ride would stop straight away if there were any issues”

” We didn’t get any compensation, we didn’t peruse that”

When asked if she’ll be going back to ride The Smiler, Lynne replied: “Definitely, it looks awesome!”

Johnny Walker: 23 from Huddersfield, saw the bolt being taken to an employee

“We had got to the park about nine-ish and queued for around an hour and a half and was stood more or less directly underneath the track.”

“We then heard an almighty bang, which sounded similar to a gun shot. Everyone was looking around confused not knowing what had just happened.”

 

“There is a drink stall half way down the queue, someone ran over to the stand and handed the boy a metal rod that was about a foot long, two inches think, then straight after that everybody knew it was from the track and the ride got stopped immediately. ”

“When we looked at the track we could see the gap where the rod had flown out from.”

“Everyone in the group I went with were disappointed with Alton Towers, we travelled there just for this ride and queued for an hour and a half to get on and then queued for 20 minutes to get out of the queue itself.”

“Alton Towers offered no compensation, and by this point we thought we had wasted enough time and the last thing we wanted to do was waste more time by trying to complain.”

“I don’t think any of us are scared of roller-coasters now, however it was surreal when it happened, it’s like something that only happens in a film.”

Final Destination-Esque: The incident is almost reminiscent of the roller-coaster disaster depicted in Final Destination 3 (well, sort of!)

“You certainly wouldn’t expect it to happen on an newly built multi million pound roller coaster.”

“Despite everything, I definitely want to try this ride. As soon as they make it safe I’m sure it will be fantastic – it certainly looks extremely impressive.”

“However I’m very annoyed its going to cost me another £47 to do so.”

 

Speaking to Airgates, an Alton Towers spokesperson said: “If anyone has visited the park on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday specifically to ride The Smiler then they can have their tickets re-validated for another visit.”

“If they didn’t visit Guest Services while they were here for a revalidation, they will need to write in or email the Guest Services team with their details”

Following our article, Alton Towers approached both our interview subjects offering to revalidate their tickets. Both accepted and look forward to, finally riding The Smiler.

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About: Michael Mander

I mainly cover Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Adventure Island, Paramount London and other attractions in the south of England. Contact me at: Michael@Airgates.co.uk

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