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San Diego Fire-Rescue firefighter details SeaWorld gondola rescue

Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 21:53:18-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- When a significant wind gust led to an emergency response at SeaWorld’s Bayside Skyride Monday, San Diego Fire-Rescue technical rescue teams and San Diego Lifeguards were ready.

The teams conduct training sessions at least twice a year on the ride, which has gondolas traveling through the air for a view above Mission Bay.

Monday night at 7:30 p.m., five gondolas became stuck with 16 people on board, including a toddler.

“She was a little cold, because I think she'd been up there for a little bit, so that was my priority,” said firefighter Sean Murphy.

RELATED: 'Gust of significant wind' causes SeaWorld ride to stop, leaves 16 stranded

SeaWorld said stranded park guests used blankets on board the gondolas to stay warm. The park also stayed in contact with guests through an intercom.

Temperatures dipped temperatures dipped into the low 40s as crews launched a precision operation with ropes, harnesses and pulleys.

“Our bread and butter is ropes and auto extraction,” said Murphy.

Murphy showed 10News what was involved in lowering the 16 gondola passengers down to the ground.

“Everyone had a little bit of jitters, but I tried to let everyone know exactly what we were going to do,” Murphy said.

The toddler was put in a small harness. Murphy said it helped that the child's dad served time in the military.

“He was pretty calm, composed, which was great relief for me, and allowed us to lower those two pretty easily,” said Murphy.

It took roughly five hours to rescue everyone. No one was injured.

The Bayside Skyride, which first opened in 1967, remained closed Tuesday during an inspection of the ride.