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Sunday, 15 March, 1998, 17:50 GMT
A leap into 'Oblivion'
top
Would anyone mind if I got out here ?
Imagine you are on top of a 16-storey building staring straight down into pitch darkness.

Now jump off.

view
It's tough at the top
You plummet towards the ground at ever increasing speed. Your internal organs feel like they are trying to escape as your body is hit by G-forces worse than an astronaut experiences when a rocket takes off into space.

Now imagine that you did it for fun, actually paid for the privilege and even queued for an hour with like-minded thrill-seekers who are coming back for their umpteenth go.

Oblivion, the new attraction at Alton Towers, Staffordshire, looks set to be the cause of more re-appearing dinners than any other theme park attraction in Britain.

vertical
Aaaaaarrrgggghh
The first rollercoaster in Britain with a sheer vertical drop has taken a year to build at a cost of more than 12m.

Passengers are propelled around the track until they reach the precipice where the carriage halts for a sadistic couple of seconds as you peer over the edge into nothingness.

Then over you go - straight down - into darkness with nothing but your screams for company before you shoot out into open air a lifetime later.

For some people it is 160 seconds of hell, for others the best thing since sliced bread or until a bigger better rollercoaster comes along.

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