23 injured as roller coaster carriages collide

More than 20 people were injured last night when two carriages collided on the world's highest roller-coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire.

More than 20 people were injured last night when two carriages collided on the world's highest roller-coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire.

Four people were trapped in a car 25ft above the ground on the £12m Pepsi Max Big One ride and had to be rescued by fire crews. Ambulance staff said there were 21 "walking wounded" who were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and two other casualties were treated at the scene.

The Pleasure Beach was closed immediately and the area around the roller-coaster was sealed off.

Management said the accident happened when a stopped car was "bumped" by a second slow-moving car that had not been completely stopped by the ride's braking system.

Fire crews found four people trapped in a car. Two were freed immediately and taken to hospital. Cutting equipment was used to release the remaining two, who were lowered to the ground with ropes.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is Britain's most popular free tourist attraction with 7.8 million visitors a year. The Big One, the world's tallest and fastest roller-coaster at 235ft high with a speed of 87mph, is its showpiece. Last night's accident follows an incident on the ride in which several people were injured three years ago.

In July, the Space Invader roller-coaster at Blackpool was closed after Christopher Sheratt, 11, died when he fell out of a carriage. Six years ago, two Scots were among six visitors injured when two cars collided on the same ride. In 1995 a passenger on the Kyoto Express failed to obey sitting instructions and died after he stood up and his head crashed into a steel girder.

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