The latest on the Smiler roller coaster crash at Alton Towers

Find all the latest updates on the Smiler roller coaster crash at Alton Towers in June 2015. Sixteen people were injured, with two women having to undergo leg amputations, after carriages on the theme park's flagship thrill ride crashed into each other.

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Alton Towers shuts two more rides after Smiler crash

Alton Towers shuts two more rides after Smiler crash Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Alton Towers bosses were forced to shut two rollercoasters today after a large metal clip was feared to have dropped off one of the white-knuckle rides.

Ride Air and Runaway Mine Train were shut just minutes after the Staffordshire theme park opened.

Shocked visitor Ashley Sandle, 28, even found what appeared to be a large metal clip lying on the track beneath Air.

The apprentice gas engineer captured the moment he handed the clip to a member of staff which led to the ride being closed at 10am.

Ashley, who was staying at one of the hotel’s at the resort with his partner Jazie Church, 26, said: "We were queuing up for Air to get on as soon as it opened but I saw something under the track.

"I picked it up and it was a big clunky metal clip. I didn’t know what it could be but thought it must be important.

"I found a member of staff and handed it to him and explained where I had found it. His face went deathly white and ran off to his supervisor.

"A few minutes later an announcement came out over the tannoy saying Air was shut because of technical difficulties.

"It re-opened about half-an-hour later but then shut again.

"The Runaway Mine Train is shut too. It’s becoming a bit of a farce. I think Alton Towers should close completely until they check out every ride is safe."

Mr Sandle, from Morden, south west London, says he called a friend to tell them about the delay and minutes later received a call from park bosses offering him a complimentary meal and bottle of wine.

He added: "I have no idea how they [Alton Towers] got my number because I don’t give it to anyone.

"I asked who it was and they said it was a representative from Merlin Entertainments. They told me to report to reception and they would give me a voucher for a free meal and bottle of wine.

"It came totally out of the blue a few minutes after I handed the metal clip in. I didn’t give anyone my number but my initial thought was they were trying to offer me a freebie to shut me up."

Air was closed four times yesterday while Runaway Mine Train was late opening.

The closures comes nine days after The Smiler rollercoaster smashed into an empty carriage leaving 16 people injured, including four seriously.

On Wednesday parents and children were evacuated form the newly opened Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure in the CBeebies area of the park.

It is understood the ride stalled due to a malfunction and the a young boy became distressed.

Engineers wearing helmets and harnesses were seen by visitors helping people leave the ride. The ride remained closed yesterday.

Alton Towers yesterday confirmed Air and the Runaway Mine Train had closed for "technical issues."

A spokeswoman said: "Alton Towers puts the health and safety of its guests at the forefront of everything it does, which means that from time to time rides will be closed to allow for technical issues to be reviewed.

"We do understand that this can be inconvenient for our guests and we will keep them as informed as we are able to throughout any delays, but we will not operate a ride if there is any suggestion of a safety compromise.

"It is natural that given the current circumstances, our guests (and the media) are more focused on any minor delay or technical stoppage, but all of the rides undergo comprehensive pre-opening checks and any delays that we are experiencing now are within our expected level.

"All issues will be dealt with according to our stringent processes and rides will reopen as appropriate."

*Air opened in March 2002 and cost #12million. It has a top speed of 47mph and takes up to 84 passengers along a 2,760ft (84m) track close to the ground and under footpaths.

*Runaway Mine Train opened in 1992 and is oldest ride in Alton Towers.

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