THRILL-SEEKERS on Europe’s longest roller-coaster were reportedly left showered in blood after the ride hit a deer that had strayed too close to the track, killing it instantly.
Shocked passengers on the Ultimate at Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, got more than they bargained for on the ride when it smashed into the deer at around 11.15am on Saturday.
The deer was reportedly decapitated by the train as it rocketed along the track, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph.
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The park also suffered multiple power failures on Saturday, with visitors reporting pirate ship ride the Black Pearl being stuck upside-down for around four minutes.
A father of two from Mowden, Darlington, who did not wish to be named, said: “I knew there was something wrong.
“There was a bit of screaming but not too much. The maintenance men came and seemed to turn it off and on again and then it was fine.”
Visitors to the park arriving later realised the Ultimate was closed at 11.30am and were told by staff that there had been an incident involving a deer and that it was being cleared away.
A spokeswoman for the theme park, one of the region's biggest attractions, said: “We can confirm a young deer did unfortunately get hit by the Ultimate train yesterday and was killed instantly.
“There is a large perimeter fence surrounding the theme park but occasionally wild animals do manage to stray onto the park during the night.
“After the incident the Ultimate was closed for 30 minutes while the ride was thoroughly checked and then normal operation resumed.”
It is not the first time a deer has been killed after getting on the Ultimate tracks.
In 1994 the train hit a deer, ripping its legs off and trapping its antlers in the safety bars. Passengers were covered in the animal’s blood and a 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Also in 2004 a train full of passengers on the Ultimate came to a halt when an axle fault led to two wheels falling off.
The fail-safe system meant the following train also came to a standstill leaving its 38 screaming passengers stranded 100ft above the ground.
All were safely evacuated and no one was seriously hurt but ride had to be closed down until the cause of the fault was traced and rectified.
The ride opened in 1991 and is one of the most popular roller-coasters in the world. The 1.5 mile track features drops of up to 100ft.