All riders rescued from SeaWorld gondola ride after malfunction

SeaWorld says it will inspect one of its gondola rides after wind knocked out power on it last night, stranding 16 passengers in five cars suspended over Mission Bay.

All 16 passengers were rescued from the the Bayside Skyride over several hours by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

A statement by SeaWorld said the Bayside Skyride attraction lost power after “an unusual gust of significant wind.” The National Weather Service said that SeaWorld was hit by a 20 mph gust out of the north-northwest at 6:30 p.m.

Sixteen passengers, including an infant, were in the cars, according to official and news reports.

Rescue crews were called in around 8 p.m. when the attraction could not restore power to the ride.

“Their (SeaWorld’s) mechanics weren’t able to get the gondola going,” Fire-Rescue spokesman Jose Ysea said.

The people were likely uncomfortable due to the weather. At 8 p.m., the temperature was 48 and falling at SeaWorld. Forecasts predict it would soon drop to 43 degrees, according to forecasts.

SeaWorld said there were blankets on the ride.

The rescues took place in stages, with the first two children rescued around 9:25 pm and the last two removed around 11 p.m.

“We are in contact with the guests via intercom, and they have been made aware of the evacuation procedures,” the SeaWorld statement said. “There are also blankets on board each gondola. Evacuations will be conducted in accordance with the highest safety standards. All the guests are currently safe while awaiting evacuation.”

Fire and lifeguard crews were on site, on the gondola towers and in boats in Mission Bay, long after the park closed at 7 p.m.

During the rescue, a team talked with trapped riders, getting information about the number of people aboard each of the stranded gondolas. They used harnesses and a pulley system to reach the riders.

SeaWorld said it will carefully inspect the ride before if can be operated again.

The ride opened in 1967.

Staff Writers Lori Weisberg and Gary Robbins contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette
75°