I woke this morning to find Alton Towers ‘trending’ on Facebook again, it’s been there a few times since The Smiler incident – the strap-line of ‘Dozens Left Hanging Upside Down After Roller Coaster Breaks Down’ made me wonder what had happened.
The lead story was from The Metro –
Let’s take that rather scary sounding headline and look at it..
Alton Towers’ Air rollercoaster broke down for two hours trapping 80 people upside down – Not a great place to be on the hottest day of the year
I was mega confused, Air can’t physically HOLD 80 people at once, and for them to be ‘trapped’ upside down is nigh on impossible.
Scrolling through the other news stories, which were slightly less sensationalised, the truth became clear.
Air had stopped on the ride’s lift hill yesterday, and the park’s Monorail broke down, leaving 2 trains with people in, stuck for a short while. The folks stuck on the monorail were given drinks and refreshments and evacuated from it, and the people stuck on Air were evacuated within 20 minutes.
This is news apparently.
It is NOT news.
Worse still, as far as the Metro are concerned, it’s not actually based in fact – at no point were 80 people left upside down. Even LOOKING at the photo you can see that people aren’t upside down, AND there aren’t 80 of them! I’m baffled about how they can even print these things alongside a photo that contradicts their scaremongering.
What’s worse is people feed it, I’ve counted 5 people at least on my Facebook sharing these over excitable stories and a few demanding that Alton Towers is shut down. More often or not these technical interruptions are caused by safety systems kicking in. A sensor somewhere along the ride could be reporting an anomaly and everything is stopped momentarily for this to be looked at. That’s it. The rides aren’t unsafe or dangerous, they stop because they are TOO safe.
I’ve been on Air when it’s stopped on the lift hill before now, usually because the train in-front hasn’t moved into the next block of track. I was stuck on it for 15 minutes at the end of the ride while a restraint on one of the other trains was looked at. It’s a pain, but it’s all done in the name of safety and avoiding accidents than creating them.
Rides in theme parks globally have pauses and technical hiccups, if every single time a ride had one was reported as ‘news’ the news would be pretty boring!
Don’t feed the fear by sharing these blatant lies and bullshit stories, theme parks DON’T need to shut down, we don’t need every hiccup to become front page stories. Technology goes wrong, your computer will screw up, your car will break down, it’s just a fact of life.
It is NOT news.