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I was scared the seatbelt would release and we'd fall out': Riders tell of their horror at being stuck 65ft in the air for half an hour


Riders were left fearing they may fall out of an Alton Towers rollercoaster today after being left hanging 65ft high in the air for half an hour when it abruptly came to a halt in front of busy Bank Holiday crowds.
A total of 28 people were left hanging face-down on the £12million Air Galactica ride when it ground to a sudden halt in 'absolutely torrential' rain at the top of the first loop of the track at around 2pm.
One rider told how he feared his seatbelt would 'release' and he would plunge to the ground below as he dangled in mid-air, while another said it would've been 'game over' if the harness gave way.
Others said distressed passengers were 'screaming and crying' during the incident which occurred when the ride broke down after allegedly being besieged by floodwater following heavy downpours.


Dramatic pictures show the riders hanging helplessly in mid-air from the rollercoaster carriage as workers at the Staffordshire park rush to their aid to comfort them and calm them down.
Other photographs show the queuing area for the ride inundated with inch-deep floodwater. Some visitors suggested the heavy rain may have caused the ride's electrics to trip, stopping it suddenly.
After half an hour, workers managed to re-start the rollercoaster and safely returned the riders to the ground. Officials at the park told visitors the ride had been 'flooded' and it was temporarily shut.
Thomas Symons, 20, of Andover, who was riding Air Galactica with girlfriend Rebekah Sheppard when it broke, said he feared they could 'fall out' of the virtual reality ride - which opened in March.
He told MailOnline: 'I was the first in our row to realise something was wrong, took the VR goggles off and told the others to do the same as they still thought we were moving.

They started freaking out, it was freezing and wet up there and I was more scared that the seatbelt would release and we'd fall out as we were suspended horizontally.'
He added: 'It was just a technical fault due to the weather but it left us stranded at the top in the rain for 30 minutes until a technician arrived.
'It was dealt with by the staff well and they reimbursed our tickets and gave us a couple of fast tracks tickets.'
His partner, Miss Sheppard, added: 'The lift that pulls it up stopped because of the rain. We were there for 30 minutes while people were sorting it out.
'The weather was terrible but afterwards we got a free drink, free tickets for this year and fast tracks for rides.' 

Allison Swindell, 46, a staff nurse from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was on the front row of the ride with her 11-year-old daughter and her friend. She said they were concerned about their seatbelts holding them in.
She told MailOnline: 'You think, what if the harness comes away? You knew if it went wrong, that it was game over.
'I was trying to work out the impact of the drop. It felt at least 100ft. We were at the highest point.
'There were people screaming. We were right at the top on the front row.
'You couldn't help but look down, if you tried to look sideways it would hurt your neck.
'The children were absolutely hysterical. It was absolutely horrendous.'
Despite the ordeal, Ms Swindell said staff were on the scene immediately and were very reassuring.
You couldn't help but look down. It was absolutely horrendous 
Ride-goer Allison Swindell 
'They came up within a minute and then we realised there was a problem,' she said. 'They kept saying 'it won't be long now' but that was the worrying thing because not much was happening.
'We were worried the harness could fail, that was our only fear. But the staff were really good, they kept coming to us and reassuring us that help was on the way.
'At the end they all came around and took all our details.'
She added: 'I was so shaken up I didn't go on any more rides, I was in shock and I still am hours later.
'It was just a one-off but I will need time to get over it.'
Another visitor to the park, who wished to remain anonymous, said the rain was 'absolutely torrential' at the time the ride broke down.
He said: 'The floodwater quickly dispersed but the rain was so heavy that the drains were overwhelmed for about five minutes.
'I don't know what caused the ride stoppage but I wouldn't be surprised if the rain caused a safety trip.'

According to one family, it is not the first time the Air Galactica ride has broken down since its relaunch.
Clare Glazsher said her 12-year-old daughter went on the ride while visiting the park for a school trip on April 16 and claimed passengers were left hanging 'upside down' after it stopped half way through.
She told MailOnline: 'The girls had just been harnessed in and so we're upside down when they were all told there was a problem with the ride.
'It also took half an hour to make the decision to take people out manually. So they too spent 30 minutes scared the harness would not safely keep them secure upside down.
'I had a phone call from my daughter who was absolutely hysterical.'
The 65ft high ride was formally known as Air and has been refurbished for this season. 
It is a flying virtual reality rollercoaster located in the Forbidden Valley area of the amusement park.

WERE YOU THERE? 

Were you stuck on Air Galactica today? Let us know what happened via emma.glanfield@mailonline.co.uk.
Guests ride in a prone position lying chest down and are said to experience the feeling of flight by 'flying' close to the ground, under footpaths, and narrowly past trees and rocks.
Today's incident comes almost a year after a horrific crash at the same park when two carriages on the multi-million pound Smiler ride collided - seriously injuring five people.
Two teenage passengers - Vicky Balch and Leah Washington - underwent leg amputations after their carriage collided with a stationary car during the incident on June 2 last year.
Three other people were seriously injured in the 50mph crash, which was due to human error.
The attraction was closed for nine months after the horror crash, but it did not stop hundreds of people queuing up to be the first to ride it again once it reopened in March.
Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, which owns the park, now faces paying a fine that could stretch into the millions after pleading guilty to a safety breach at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The theme park firm also accepted that more could have been done to keep the ride-goers safe ahead of the crash, which was caused by human error when staff manning the ride 'overrode' the controlling computer system's actions to stop the £18million flagship attraction.
In the wake of the incident, the company - which has seen more than £750million wiped from its share value - issued a £47million profits warning.
It also said it could be forced to axe up to 190 jobs after visitor numbers plunged in the wake of the rollercoaster crash. 

Firefighters worked with police and paramedics for more than four-and-a-half hours to rescue the 16 casualties after the horror smash.
The emergency services had to build a scaffold tower after the crash left victims trapped 25ft off the ground at a 45-degree angle.
Park bosses said in a statement that it had sought to 'learn every possible lesson' from last June's crash before deciding to recommence operation of the £18million round up

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