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Skytower ride traps 48 people for 4 hours at SeaWorld


By Phil Diehl

SAN DIEGO - Officials say 48 people spent a nerve-wracking four hours Sunday stuck near the top of the 320-foot-tall Skytower ride at SeaWorld.

No one was injured, but San Diego Fire Department paramedics treated two young people for "essentially anxiety" when the ride finally came down at 7:25 p.m., said Fire Department spokesman Lee Swanson. One of them, a 17-year-old boy, was taken to a hospital to be evaluated.

The problem was initially reported as a power failure, Swanson said, but turned out to be more of a mechanical malfunction.

"They had air conditioning, so it wasn't like they were sweltering in a box," Swanson said.

SeaWorld communications director David Koontz issued a written statement thanking the riders for their patience.

"With guest safety as our top priority," Koontz states, "park engineers spent four hours trouble-shooting the problem before restoring power to the Skytower and safely returning the 46 guests to the ride loading area.

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

The guests also received return admission and other park amenities, he said.

Swanson said firefighters were prepared to rescue people with ropes, something the department trains for at SeaWorld once or twice each year. But that wasn't necessary, and SeaWorld employees brought the ride down on their own.


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