First new rollercoaster to open at Alton Towers since crash

The new rollercoaster on which passengers will wear virtual reality headsets

The new rollercoaster on which passengers will wear virtual reality headsets

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Alton Towers has announced plans to open its first new rollercoaster since 16 people were injured in an accident last June.

The new space-themed ride, called Galactica, will be the first major opening at the theme park since The Smiler ride crashed. Two passengers - including Leyland’s Vicky Balch - were forced to have leg amputations as a result of the incident. An investigation attributed the crash to “human error”, with visitor numbers having fallen since the incident.

Galactica will combine a physical rollercoaster with virtual reality, with each passenger on the 840-metre long track wearing a virtual reality headset that will create the illusion they are flying through space, with the movements on-screen coinciding with those on the track.

The park’s marketing director Gill Riley said the safety of visitors was the park’s “number one priority”, and that following last year’s incident additional safety protocols had been put in place, adding comprehensive and independent inspections of the new ride would take place before it opened.

“Galactica uses ground breaking technology to give riders a breathtaking and completely unique rollercoaster experience,” she said.

“Tim Peake captured the imagination of millions of Brits last year when he set off on his mission to the International Space Station - and now our visitors can become astronauts too.”

The park has also confirmed The Smiler is due to reopen later this year.