66 riders were stranded on the Orlando Eye and had to be evacuated from the 400-foot attraction last Friday afternoon.
At about 3:45 p.m. the operating systems that monitor the position of Ferris wheel indicated a technical default. The wheel had initially stopped for 45 minutes. Andrea Alava, a public relations manager for the Orlando Eye said in a statement that as a safety precaution, the wheel is designed to automatically shut down when communication with the system is interrupted.
The Orlando Eye technical team kept up two-way visual and audio communication with the guests “to ensure their safety and comfort.”
Power was restored via a backup generator. No one was hurt and all the riders were taken off in a rescue operation lasting approximately three hours. The attraction reopened the next day.
The Orlando Eye is billed as the largest observation wheel on the East Coast. The attraction is owned by Merlin Entertainments PLC that owns the 442-foot Ferry wheel in Britain, the London Eye, as well. The attraction has a total of 30 rider capsules that will hold 15 riders each, meaning the ride will have a maximum capacity of 450 people. According to the attraction websites, the capsules are fully enclosed and air-conditioned, featuring lightning and audio effects, as well as interactive tablets offering the riders information on the 360-degree wonderful views of Central Florida including theme parks, attractions, Orlando downtown skyline and on clear day Kennedy Space Center and the East Coast.