ALTON Towers has apologised to a war hero who lost his leg fighting for his country after telling him he could not ride a rollercoaster.
Former soldier Lance Corporal Johno Lee was told he could not ride the theme park’s Air rollercoaster because of his prosthetic leg despite riding another ride that day by removing his leg.
His right leg was amputated below the knee following a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2008.
Mr Lee, who visited the park with his wife Dawn, has been on Air at least eight times before, once when he was unable to walk and still in a wheelchair, and was told by the information desk staff there would not be an issue with any of the rides.
He said the incident was ‘embarrassing and degrading’ and demanded a full refund as the couple left the popular theme park after only an hour.
Mr Lee told The Daily Mail: “If something had changed since my last visit, there were many opportunities for them to say so — on the internet, on the back of tickets, at the information desk or the signs by the ride.
“I told them how I lost my leg and how I had faced far greater challenges than a rollercoaster, but they were having none of it.” An Alton Towers spokesman said: “We are sorry if there has been a misunderstanding in the communication of our policies relating to guests with amputations.
“It is never our intention to embarrass any of our guests and we can understand Mr Lee’s distress.
“We are proud to welcome visitors who have a disability, together with their helpers or companions, and we aim to encourage everyone to enjoy as many of our facilities as possible, regardless of ability or disability.
“We aim to ensure that disabled guests are treated with respect and in a manner that is appropriate to their needs, whilst maintaining equality for all of our visitors.
“Our policy relating to guests with disabilities has been developed to take into account their specific needs, as well as the general health and safety regulations relating to a business such as ours, both with reference to our own employees, and all our other guests.
“From time to time the ride manufacturers will review their guidelines regarding operating policies and this is the case with our flying rollercoaster Air.
“This has a very specialised restraint system that incorporates an over the shoulder harness and two lower braces that lock around the ankle.
“Unfortunately therefore guests with leg or foot amputations would not be fully contained in this type of system making it uncomfortable for them to ride.
“All of our rides have Ride Safety Notices but in some cases it is more appropriate to ask guests with disabilities to speak to a ride host to determine whether or not they can ride; this is the approach we have taken with Air.” The spokesman asked Mr Lee to contact the park directly to resolve the concerns.