Riders forced to walk down UK’s highest rollercoaster after sudden stop

High winds led theme park staff to pull the switch as passengers made ascent

Liam James
Friday 14 April 2023 20:37 BST
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Passengers on the UK’s highest rollercoaster had to walk some 180ft down its tracks to safety after the ride was stopped due to sudden strong winds.

Operators stopped the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for safety reasons as thrillseekers rode up the ride’s 235ft (71m) high main incline.

Theme park staff led the stranded passengers down the tracks and the ride was cancelled for the rest of the day.

Local hotel staff captured the riders making their descent (King’s Boutique Hotel Blackpool )

Passengers were seen being helped down the rollercoaster’s steep tracks in an image captured from a nearby hotel as the drama unfolded on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “At 2.50pm on Tuesday 11th April, Blackpool Pleasure Beach stopped the Big One train on the ride’s lift hill due to sudden changes in weather conditions.

“Guests on the ride were reassured and escorted from the ride by Blackpool Pleasure Beach staff. Due to high gusts of wind the Big One rollercoaster closed for the remainder of the day.”

The Big One – commonly known as the Pepsi Max due to an old advertising deal – first opened to the public in 1994 and hurtles passengers around its more than one mile of track at up to 85mph.

Big One, or ‘Pepsi Max’, has been Pleasure Beach’s crown jewel for decades (Getty)

Blackpool Pleasure Beach staff are no strangers to helping stranded passengers down from rides. Last September, the Big One broke down halfway up an incline, leaving passengers in need of rescue.

In May last year it broke down for around 20 minutes, with drone footage showing staff climbing the steps of the lift hill to reassure passengers.

The ride was then able to restart and came back down to the station.

Elsewhere in the park, around 30 people had to be rescued after the amusement park’s 83-year-old wooden Grand National ride broke down near the top of an incline in July 2021. Staff had to climb the 63ft structure to escort passengers down to safety.

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