SeaWorld San Diegoís SkyRide shut down in mid ride earlier this week after a freak wind storm blasted through the area, trapping 16 riders in mid-span from about 7pm to 11pm. From what Iíve heard the ride shut down when a safety sensor was tripped as a section of the rideís cable had came out of the the groove on one of the sheaves (the wheel like things at the top of the towers that [COLOR=#1B8EDE !important]guide[/COLOR] the cable), rolling inward and striking the sensor.
As the SkyRide was my old stomping ground when I worked at the park, I can tell you normally if the ride shut down for any kind of reason, if the safety sensors rechecked as being good you could still pull the cars slowly around the course via a backup gas-powered VW motor, but since the cable was blown off course in an unsafe area, the only means left was to call in the rescue teams who go out via boat to the rideís two towers, climb about 90 feet up the ladder to the top and with climbing gear, they have to go out over the cables to each car, enter, and rig up a rescue system to lower each guest individually down to a waiting boat below. Iíve seen it done myself when I worked there, as we did test rehearsal drills with the fire department.
The ride also features a constant wind monitor that sends information to the operators in the station, and will sound an alarm if it gets over a certain speed, with different speeds set for each direction that if I recall, ranged anywhere from 14 to 28 mph. Unfortunately, the word Iíve been hearing is that a sudden gust sprung up out of nowhere with reported speeds up to 50 to 60 mph that rocked one of the cars as it was going over a tower and caused the cable to roll off and hit the sensor. By about 11:15 all 16 riders have been safely lowered back to the surface.
Iíd expect the SkyRide to be closed for a bit to repair any cable issues, as well as undergo all new inspections and safety certifications, but everything appears to have worked exactly as designed, keeping everyone safe and sound. It sounds like the freak wind blast affected all areas of the city, as riders on a hot air balloon ride at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park also were caught off guard in mid flight and given a bit of a scare.