Katanga Canyon had to be closed off to the public today, as something went seriously wrong with the Runaway Mine Train.
The incident involving the Mack Rides powered coaster occurred shortly before midday. The train split into two sections as it was entering into the 'tunnel' part of the ride, as a coupling holding the individual carriages together broke. This immediately cut the power, and as the second half of the train sat motionless in the tunnel, the first part continued to coast up the hill before slowing down, stopping, and rolling back towards the stranded train. The two then collided, the force of which split the train further, into three sections, and sent debris flying so far it even reached the path near KFC/Pizza Hut. Most of the debris is believed to have been from the power line that rests on the track.
Ambulances arrived at the scene soon after, as three people had to be taken to North Staffordshire Hospital - two women were flown by air ambulance while another was taken by land ambulance. The two women were suffering possible whiplash, spinal or abdominal injuries of the sort seen in car crashes, a Staffordshire Ambulance spokesman said. A fourth person voluntarily took himself to a casualties centre in Leek. 23 others were treated for cuts, bruises and minor injuries.
The Congo River Rapids, which share the same tunnel with the Runaway Mine Train, was also closed and the area sealed off. However, the Rapids reopened later on in the day.
A spokeswoman for the park said: "The Park's fully trained First Responders were at the scene within minutes.
"As a precaution, four guests have been taken to Hospital.
"The health and safety of our guests is our primarily objective. The ride has been closed and will remain so whilst a thorough investigation is carried out by the Park's Management team together with the Health and Safety Executive."