Alton Towers unveils flaming Wicker Man rollercoaster
Alton Towers' new Wicker Man rollercoaster will feature a six-storey flaming structure in what the theme park claims is the first such ride to combine wood and fire.
The £16 million project, including a 2,028 ft track, is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for 21 years, the Staffordshire attraction said.
A 57.5ft "wicker man" will appear to burst into flames as thrill-seekers race through the structure three times on a wooden track.
The rollercoaster, which shares its name with the British 1970s classic horror film, starring Christopher Lee, is due to open to visitors this spring.
Bradley Wynne, the theme park's creative lead said: "We hope visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man's breath-taking scale whilst the primal essence of the wooden coaster and astonishing effects will leave them delighted, exhilarated and eager to ride again."
Andy Hine, the chairman of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, said: "We've been hoping that Alton Towers would invest in a wooden coaster for a long time, and we're so pleased it's finally coming with Wicker Man."
Alton Towers said "the safety of guests has been paramount" in building the ride, which has involved "rigorous testing and hundreds of training hours for ride operators".
The theme park's operator Merlin Attractions was fined £5 million for a "catastrophic failure" of health and safety rules over an incident on its Smiler rollercoaster in 2015 when two carriages collided.
Vicky Balch, then 19, and Leah Washington, then 17, could have bled to death from their injuries and each ended up losing a leg after the collision which injured 16 people.