Ride Traps 21 People 125 Feet in the Air for Nearly 8 Hours

They eventually had to rappel to safety
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2016 12:46 PM CST
Orange County firefighters work to rescue Knott's Berry Farm patrons who were stuck on a ride Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, in Buena Park, Calif.   (Bill Alkofer/The Orange County Register via AP)
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(Newser) – Twenty visitors—including children—to Knott's Berry Farm in California spent nearly eight hours Friday trapped 125 feet off the ground, the Orange County Register reports. According to CBS Los Angeles, 20 guests and a ride operator were aboard the Sky Cabin ride when it stalled around 2pm. It's unclear exactly why the 40-year-old ride—an "oversized mechanical doughnut" that rises into the air and slowly spins—broke down, but an employee tells NBC Los Angeles a main brake activated and couldn't be deactivated. Gabe Javage says the Sky Cabin was the first ride his family went on Friday and things started to get serious as trapped passengers' bladders caught up with them.

Knott's Berry Farm called the Orange County Fire Authority for help at 5pm after failing to get the Sky Cabin moving again. It's unclear why the amusement park waited three hours with passengers hanging in the air to call the authorities. After a cherry picker failed, firefighters used a line and harness to rappel guests to the ground one at a time. A woman says her 8-year-old daughter who had been on the Sky Cabin was crying as she was lowered to the ground. Park officials had cotton candy waiting for the trapped children. All 21 people were finally off the ride by 9:54pm. (Read more Knott's Berry Farm stories.)

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