A group of friends have spoken of their horror after witnessing a devastating rollercoaster crash on the ride they were due to go on just moments later.
Emma Jones, Rebecca Baxter and Jacqui Cochrane were enjoying a trip to Alton Towers theme park, Staffordshire, with friends when disaster struck on The Smiler ride.
Two carriages collided with one another, leaving a total of 16 people hurt - including two men aged 27 and 18, and two women aged 19 and 17, who suffered serious leg injuries.
And after seeing the incident unfold before their eyes, the rollercoaster mad friends from Illingworth, Halifax, say they will never step foot in a theme park again.
The girls said: “We were having fun, we were having a really great day and we knew from experience to do The Smiler last, it was saving the best until last.
“We walked off one ride to get something to eat when we heard an almighty bang and everyone screaming, we thought a bomb had gone off because the bang was so loud.
“When we turned round the carts were still in motion, doing a pirate ship motion. Everyone was screaming and going hysterical on the ride and that’s when we figured there were two carts meshed together.
“We were stood there for about ten minutes in absolute shock, then Alton Towers staff came and started to move us all away and then one guy, who seemed to be more security than staff, came down underneath the track looked up and said ‘are you all ok’ and then walked off, he was there for two minutes.
“As we walked round, we could see that one person on the ride was unconscious, his face was covered in blood and he and was drooped over.
“It was all horrendous, we were shocked there wasn’t a fatality.
“It just seemed that there was no staff to go down and reassure them and let them know help was on the way. It was absolutely awful, we feel so sorry for the people who were stuck - we will never go back there again, our feet will be staying firmly on the ground from now on.”
The £18 million rollercoaster, which boasts a world record 14 loops, has been closed twice because of safety concerns since opening two years ago.
Nick Varney, of Alton Towers’ owners Merlin Entertainments, said the theme park, which is closed, could only re-open when an investigation into why the two carriages collided has concluded.