50 Stuck on SeaWorld Orlando Ride Lowered to Safety After More Than 2 Hours

The Sky Tower ride at SeaWorld Orlando was slowly lowered to the ground Monday afternoon, more than two hours after getting stuck and suspending passengers in mid-air, NBC affiliate WESH reported.

Theme park guests were stranded about halfway up the tower when the ride apparently malfunctioned. Fire officials in hard hats were seen on aerial footage working to rescue them.

Passengers, many waving to the camera, told WESH they were stuck for more than two hours.

The park said in a news release that crews managed to lower the ride's cabin Monday afternoon after it malfunctioned more than two hours earlier. The release said the cabin stopped about a quarter of the way up the pole with 50 guests and two employees aboard.

"The safety of our guests and team members is SeaWorld’s top priority," SeaWorld's senior communications director Aimée Jeansonne Becka said in a statement.

Park officials said they worked closely with Orange County Fire Rescue and remained in constant communication with the guests and team members on the ride.

The 400-foot Sky Tower, which opened in 1973, features a double-decker, rotating pod that guests board at ground level and take a leisurely ride to the top. The descent is conducted at a similar pace. It is not a drop tower.

The Sky Tower at SeaWorld San Diego had similar problems in June 2014, when about four dozen passengers were stranded on the ride for a total of four hours.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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