SAN DIEGO—Police say more than a dozen people trapped on a ride at SeaWorld in San Diego have been rescued.
San Diego police tell FOX5 News that around six gondolas stopped functioning Monday night, Feb. 18, after a big gust of wind tripped a circuit breaker on “Bayside Skyride.” Authorities had estimated that between 15 and 30 people were trapped, some of them in gondolas suspended above water. Sixteen were actually rescued,including seven children and one baby.
The rescue crews used harnesses to lower the passengers to waiting lifeboats in the bay, according to the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD), after the Bayside Skyride was halted due to a gust of wind.
The ride stopped at around 7 p.m. It took about two hours for the first people to be rescued.
“Something like this, we want to be slow and methodical,” SDFD Battalion Chief Robert Logan said, according to NBC San Diego. “A fall from that distance can be catastrophic.”
The temperature was around 49 degrees in San Diego at the time, according to the national weather service. SeaWorld said the gondolas had blankets on board.
Kimberly Alize Sanchez, 12, told NBC she was trapped in a second gondola.
She said she had noticed windy conditions before she and her young cousin got on the ride.
“I don’t know even why SeaWorld had the thing open,” Sanchez said. “They should’ve just told us to walk out because it was windy, we could’ve fallen off, something could’ve happened. And something did!”
These girls have been waiting in a parking lot near Ingraham St. for two hours while their family is still stuck in a gondola at SeaWorld. They got off just as the ride was breaking down. @fox5sandiego pic.twitter.com/D7kjhOebEg
— Kasia Gregorczyk (@KasiaGTV) February 19, 2019
Sanchez said she and her cousin crouched down on the seats and did not move for hours for fear of moving the gondola.
In a statement released during the rescue, SeaWorld told NBC, “Due to an unusual gust of significant wind, the operations of the Bayside Skyride stopped. A number of guests are currently on the Skyride seated in 5 gondolas.”
SeaWorld said that it will conduct a thorough inspection of the ride prior to reopening.