VIDEO: Doncaster mum and son trapped on Alton Towers Smiler rollercoaster as ill-fated ride breaks down again

A Doncaster mother and son were trapped on Alton Towers' ill-fated Smiler rollercoaster - 14 months after a horror crash which left five people seriously injured.

Monday, 12th September 2016, 2:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:59 pm
Karaline Reed with the Snapchat picture she took while stranded on The Smiler.

Mum Karaline Reed and son Johnny were left stranded on the ride for more than half an hour - and she has now hit out at the theme park for the latest fault to hit the ride which has been dogged by problems and which only re-opened earlier this year after a crash last summer which saw two female riders each have to have a leg amputated.

She said: "Thankfully, no one was hurt and we weren't left dangling upside down. But we were stuck on there for 35 minutes. After what's happened with that ride it is disgusting that there's still problems."

Karaline Reed with the Snapchat picture she took while stranded on The Smiler.

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Karaline, 39 and Johnny, 19, had headed to the Staffordshire theme park for a day out on Friday and had already ridden The Smiler, which holds the world record for the most inversions on a rollercoaster when they decided to make a third and final trip. She captured the drama in a Snapchat video.

She said: "When we got there, it was already delayed in opening - and it opened about twenty minutes later than it should have. I don't know why, there was no explanation.

"We had already been on it a couple of times, along with plenty of other rides. Whilst walking to the Smiler queue for the third time I turned to Johnny and said: 'Is this tempting fate? It could be third time unlucky."

The pair, from Oak Crescent, Thorne, climbed on board the rollercoaster - and were horrified as it ground to a halt, just a few feet from the carriage in front.

The Smiler has been dogged with problems since opening.

She said: "I can't imagine how the people felt on the roller coaster car in front of us whilst we came speeding up behind their stopped car - I would've been physically sick."

"When we stopped behind the car in front, an announcement came straight through saying there was some technical difficulties and they would sort it as soon as possible.

"Within a few minutes, a member of staff came to talk to us telling us that they would get us going soon and it wouldn't be long.

"I can't believe that they even thought about setting it off again with people on especially after what happened last year."

Karaline Reed with the Snapchat picture she took while stranded on The Smiler.

16 people were hurt in June last year, five seriously, including South Yorkshire man Joe Pugh, when the rollercoaster crashed into another carriage.

Earlier this month, several people were stuck on the ride after reports a "piece of debris" had fallen from the carriage. The ride reopened in March, nine months after the horror crash which saw Vicky Balch, who along with another passenger, Leah Washington, from Lancashire, had to have a leg amputated.

Added Karaline, whose son was enjoying his first ever trip to Alton Towers: "They should have got us straight off and sent the cars running empty. There is a 90 degree angle where we all stopped and got stuck for half an hour.

"If they sent the car in front off and it fell back it would've smashed into us. I was disgusted that we were stuck and that after last year there are still problems with it."

The Smiler has been dogged with problems since opening.

She added: "We were all the right way up thankfully and no one was hurt but we were frightened. The cars still hadn't moved when we left half an hour later."

Initially, The Smiler was expected to make its public debut in March 2013 for the park's opening day, but due to construction delays, the date was pushed back to May of that year

The date had to be pushed back further after technical issues were encountered during testing and a ride incident occurred during its preview event that stranded riders on the lift hill.

The ride has been known for a number of significant structural and technical issues since its launch. It eventually reopened on 19 March 2016 for the start of the 2016 season with additional safety features.

We have contacted Alton Towers for comment.