More than 60 people were trapped hundreds of feet in the air over the weekend as the Ferris wheel emerged at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida.
Orange County Fire and Rescue said they received a call about a power outage at the park around 6:20 p.m. Saturday when 62 people were aboard the 400-foot ride.
Video captured at the scene shows sparks flying from one of its compartments before the ride came to a halt.
Rescue crews then had to work to manually evacuate all drivers in a daunting task that took three hours as drivers remained on the edge of their seats, but fortunately no injuries were reported.
Sparks flew from one of the compartments of the Ferris wheel at Orlando’s ICON Park on Saturday when it lost power, locking up riders for hours
The ride is now under investigation, WESH reports, a year after a 14-year-old boy fell more than 400 feet to his death from another amusement park ride.
More than 80 firefighters were on duty Saturday night, Orange County Fire Rescue public information officer Ashley Gipson told FOX News.
They were pictured climbing ladders and the ride’s scaffolding, which they had to rotate manually to get each of the 20 compartments the drivers were in to the ground in a process that took three hours.
In a tweet Saturday night, the Orange County Fire Rescue said, “All rescue climbers on duty responded to the scene, and additional rescue climbers off duty also responded to assist.”
They’re up for the challenge, a spokesman told FOX 35, saying his climbing team prepared for just that kind of situation.
“This is one of the attractions where they practice,” the spokesman said. “We trained hours and hours in this type of rescue. We were prepared for that.’
But while the climbing team worked to lower each compartment, those on board were stuck hundreds of feet in the air as the fire raged beneath them.
According to the authorities, more than 80 firefighters were on duty on Saturday evening
Members of the department’s climbing team could be seen climbing the ride’s scaffolding and manually rotating the compartments to free each rider
The crew had previously trained for such an emergency situation and practiced climbing on the popular ride
Rider Robin Baker said she was about “a third of the way” up when the lights went out and the ride was abandoned.
“We look down and there were flames and sparks and smoke,” she told WESH. “I guess the generator burned out or something.”
“It was pretty nerve-wracking for a while,” witness Kathy Baker added.
They said that when they finally reached the ground and the firefighters opened the hatch, they asked the drivers if they were okay.
When they confirmed they were unharmed, Robin and Kathy said the firefighter simply apologized for the delay and told them to “be careful.
“Happy New Year,” added the firefighter.
Tire Sampson was an aspiring football player and honor roll student. His life ended on March 24th when he fell to his death from the ICON Free Fall ride in Orlando
A report revealed the teenager’s seat sensors had to be manually changed to fit Sampson, and video from the event appears to show the teenager’s seat belt is loose
The incident came just months after 14-year-old Tire Sampson fell more than 400 feet to his death while riding the infamous FreeFall ride at Orlando’s amusement park.
He was on a football program tour from St. Louis in March when he slipped out of his seat while driving. A subsequent investigation revealed that his seat belt was not fastened properly and the sensors had to be overridden in order for Sampson to drive.
Sampson was 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds.
It was told by other rides in the park that it was too tall to ride safely, but later got approval from FreeFall operators – even though the maximum weight for the ride was 287 pounds.
A photograph of Tyrus, taken before the craft blew up, shows him seated with his harness unbuckled and unbuckled and secured in his seat.
Tire and the rest of the group had been told shortly before that there were no seat belts on the ride. The only thing keeping them from falling out of their seats were pull-down plastic straps designed to buckle between the drivers’ legs.
In a viral video that circulated after Tire’s death, one ride operator could be heard asking another if they had “checked” the seat belt.
“Yes, the light was one,” said one of the operators of the rides in the video.
“Both of us… we checked it out. The light was on,” said a third worker.
Sampson was 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds. The maximum weight for the ride was 287 pounds
Buy Tire had reportedly been concerned about the harness before starting the ride, his father previously told WOFL-TV. The teenager challenged his friends sitting next to him to tell his parents he loved them.
“When the journey started, he felt uncomfortable. He said, “This thing is moving,” you know what I’m saying. And he said, “What’s up?” Yarnell said.
The grieving father said Tire panicked and shared a chilling foreboding with his two best friends, who sat next to him on the ride.
“That’s when he started freaking out. And he explained to his friends next to him, “I don’t know, man, if I can’t make it downstairs safely, can you please tell my mommy and daddy that I love them,” Sampson said. “For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”
Sampson’s family has been campaigning for months to have the ride taken down, and in June filed a lawsuit against the ride’s owner, manufacturer and lessor, saying they were negligent and failed to maintain a safe ride Offer.
Finally, in October, the operator of the ride, Orlando Slingshot, announced that he would be demolishing the ride.
“We are devastated by Tire’s death,” Orlando Slingshot wrote in a statement. “We listened to the wishes of Tire’s family and community and made the decision to bring down the freefall.”
The transport operator said there was no set timetable for the demolition. Additionally, Orlando Slingshot announced that they are developing a grant honoring Tyre.
ICON Park responded to the decision to dismantle the ride, saying it “respects” Orlando Slingshots’ initiative to dismantle it.