Drama at SeaWorld as 46 guests are stranded at 220 feet on broken down Skytower ride


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The Independent US

A few dozen visitors to SeaWorld in San Diego got more than the promised glimpse of the surrounding city and shimmering Pacific Ocean when they boarded one of the park’s most popular rides, the Skytower. Instead, they had a claustrophobia-inducing extended viewing opportunity that began with a power cut and lasted four hours.

Altogether 46 guests at the park and two SeaWorld employees found themselves marooned high in the sky late on Sunday with nothing to do but scan the horizon and speculate on when they might finally return to terra firma. But while nascent vertigo might have set in for some, there was never any risk of a crash landing, park officials said.

“The guests were never in danger and park officials were in constant communication with them while the power failure was being addressed,” a park spokesman said. “Two SeaWorld employees were also in the Skytower providing guests with water and snacks.”

The cramped cabin, which is meant to gradually spin around to afford the 360-degree view, was eventually brought down safely at 7.30 pm. It had been stuck 220 feet in the air when the power outage began. One boy was sent to hospital suffering from anxiety otherwise there were no other reported problems.

“The San Diego Fire Department was on scene, however, there was no requirement for an emergency evacuation,” the spokesman added. The park conducts drills annually to prepare for a possible failure of any of its rides.

While keeping human guests captive in inappropriate habitats is not usually an issue for SeaWorld, the company, which operates two other SeaWorld parks in Orlando and in San Antonio, Texas, has been under constant assault of late from animal rights activists for its treatment of its prize attractions, performing dolphins and whales.