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

Bayside Skyride SeaWorld San Diego
Posted at 8:19 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 09:01:53-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A “gust of significant wind” caused a SeaWorld ride to shut down Monday night, trapping 16 people on the ride as temperatures plummeted.

Rescue crews were called to the Bayside Skyride at the park just before 7:30 p.m. A total of five gondolas became stuck, SeaWorld said in a statement.

The incident happened as temperatures in San Diego dipped into the low 40s. During the rescue effort, temperatures had dropped into the low 50s. The theme park said in a statement that blankets were on board each gondola to help keep people warm.

SeaWorld sent 10News the following statement Monday night during the rescue effort:

Guest safety is paramount. Due to an unusual gust of significant wind, the operations of the Bayside Skyride stopped. A number of guests are currently on the Skyride seated in 5 gondolas. We are currently working with San Diego Fire & Rescue and the San Diego Lifeguards to evacuate the guests from the ride. We practice emergency evacuation procedures with local first responders annually. We are in contact with the guests via intercom, and they have been made aware of the evacuation procedures. There are also blankets on board each gondola. Evacuations will be conducted in accordance with the highest safety standards. All the guests are currently safe while awaiting evacuation. Guest safety is our top priority. Once our guests are cared for, we will conduct a thorough inspection of the ride prior to re-opening. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused the guests.

According to SeaWorld’s website, the leisurely family-style ride takes guests on a ride above the park and scenic Mission Bay. It was first opened in 1967.

Just after midnight, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department crews were able to safely remove all of the stranded riders. SDFD officials noted the rescue effort took as long as it did because each individual had to be rescued separately, with each person lowered in a harness to San Diego Lifeguard boats in Mission Bay.

10News learned that the ride will be inspected Tuesday before it is reopened.