Riders stuck 100 feet in the air as coaster stalls at England's Alton Towers theme park

Passengers on a ride at England's Alton Towers amusement park got a far-more frightening experience than expected when their ride suddenly stopped in midair

The coaster, known as the Smiler, stalled Tuesday evening while its occupants were approximately 100 feet high. The malfunction lasted for about 20 minutes, during which the stranded riders were on a fully vertical slope and facing upward toward the sky. 

"We didn’t know what had happened and we weren't moving," Dylan Fryers, who was stuck on the coaster, told the Sun. "Two carriages go around the ride at the same time, so I was worried that the other one might collide into us."

Nearby parkgoers posted photos and videos of the incident to Twitter. In one video, some of the riders can be heard screaming as they wait to be rescued.

"It was pretty scary hearing them all screaming, they were helpless up there," Jamie McKay, who witnessed the incident, told the Sun.

The theme park ultimately apologized for the incident, saying it had offered free tickets as compensation for those who got stuck.

This isn't the first time that the Smiler coaster has been involved in a high-profile malfunction. Sixteen people were injured in a crash on the ride in 2015, two of whom lost a leg. The incident ultimately earned the park a more than $5 million fine. 

Alton Towers, located in Staffordshire, reopened the Smiler in 2016, saying it had made numerous safety additions to the ride. The coaster is famous for its number of loops, featuring 14 in total

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