A section of track on Alton Towers’ latest rollercoaster The Smiler has partially detached, causing the ride to close.
A bolt assembly has come loose the ride’s triangular frame track, causing a gap of more than one inch (25mm) to appear.
No one was injured following the incident, but three trains subsequently remained in a stationary position, each loaded with 16 guests.
The ride’s queue line – containing more than 1,000 people and where the bolt reportedly fell toward – was cleared by staff following the incident.
Alton Towers has so far not commented on the incident, but is unlikely to reveal specific details of what happened – given that no injuries were reported.
Eyewitness Lynne Skeels told Ride Rater that she heard a “huge bang” while waiting for the ride at around 10:30am this morning.
“The bang must have been the impact of the bolt falling onto the metal cages above the queue lines,” she said.
“We first thought someone on the ride had dropped something, but the noise was too loud.”
Lynne added that a number of people left the queue line without prompt “seconds” after the bang was heard, and that one train passed over the gap after it was formed.
The Gerstlauer-manufactured rollercoaster is now likely to be out of operation for a considerable period of time as engineers assess and remediate the problem.
The Smiler has been dogged by construction problems since work began on the ride last year, and it opened more than two months behind schedule on 31 May.