21 people rescued after eight hours trapped 100ft above ground on US theme park ride

The 'Sky Cabin' observation tower suffered a breakdown at around 2pm, but firefighters were not called until 5pm, and the last person was rescued near to 10pm

Peter Walker@petejohn_walker
Saturday 31 December 2016 16:25
Twenty one people rescued from theme park ride in California

Twenty one people were rescued after being trapped 100ft off the ground for up to nearly eight hours on a theme park ride.

Firefighters roped people down, at Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California, after the Sky Cabin ride stopped working at around 2pm local time.

But the first passenger was not harnessed to the ground until 7.25pm and it was not until 9.54pm that the park said, via Twitter, that everyone was safe.

The park said, at 9.54pm on Twitter, that everyone was safely on the ground AP

The park has not confirmed what caused the tower, which takes visitors to a 185ft height in a "fully enclosed revolving observational deck" giving panoramic views of Orange County, to break down.

Rider Gabe Javage, speaking to KNBC-TV while still trapped on the ride, said: "My son and his cousin are down below.

"They elected not to go on the ride. Good choice for them, huh?"

Eddie Kim, whose three daughters were stuck on the ride while he waited below, told KTTV-TV: "My little girl, 8-year-old girl, she came down, and she's crying."

Workers at Knott's reportedly tried to get the ride moving themselves but did not call Orange County Fire Authority until shortly before 5pm.

“After the Knott’s Berry Farm maintenance team made several attempts to bring the attraction down, we contacted the Orange County Fire Authority,” according to a Knott’s statement. “As always, the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority.”

The park, which The Independent has contacted for comment, said the ride will be closed until an investigation is complete.

The Sky Cabin, opened in 1976, also reportedly became stuck as it ascended in 2008, and was closed temporarily in 2010.

The ride's dedicated webpage is closed down.

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