16 Passengers, Including a Baby, Rescued From SeaWorld Ride

February 19, 2019 Updated: February 19, 2019

Sixteen people, including seven children and one baby, were rescued after being trapped for four hours on gondolas high above the water when a ride stopped in high winds at SeaWorld.

The rescue crews used harnesses to lower the passengers to waiting lifeboats in the bay, according to the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD), after the Bayside Skyride was halted due to a gust of wind.

According to Sea World, a breaker was triggered by a gust of wind.

The ride stopped at around 7 p.m. It took about two hours for the first people to be rescued.

“Something like this, we want to be slow and methodical,” SDFD Battalion Chief Robert Logan said, according to NBC San Diego. “A fall from that distance can be catastrophic.”

Rescue crews lower a passenger to safety from the Bayside Skyride in San Diego on Feb. 18, 2019. (SDFD)

The temperature was around 49 degrees in San Diego at the time, according to the national weather service. SeaWorld said the gondolas had blankets on board.
Kimberly Alize Sanchez, 12, told NBC she was trapped in a second gondola.
She said she had noticed windy conditions before she and her young cousin got on the ride.

Skyride rescue
A lifeboat carries passengers to safety from the Bayside Skyride in San Diego on Feb. 18, 2019. (SDFD)

“I don’t know even why SeaWorld had the thing open,” Sanchez said. “They should’ve just told us to walk out because it was windy, we could’ve fallen off, something could’ve happened. And something did!”

Epoch Times Photo
San Diego Seaworld (Screenshot/Googlemaps)

Sanchez said she and her cousin crouched down on the seats and did not move for hours for fear of moving the gondola.

The gondola was “rocking back and forth for at least two hours,” she said. “Just rocking back and forth. We just tried to sit as still as possible, not trying to move.”

Epoch Times Photo
Rescue crews lower a passenger to safety from the Bayside Skyride in San Diego on Feb. 18, 2019. (SDFD)

A spokesperson for SeaWorld said that they were happy the 16 passengers had been removed safely and applauded the San Diego Fire & Rescue and San Diego Lifeguards. The company will begin an inspection of the ride today.

In a statement released during the rescue, SeaWorld said, “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.”

“SEAWORLD RESCUE UPDATE: All 16 persons trapped in the gondola ride are safe on the ground. Great job by our Technical Rescue Team firefighters, @SDLifeguards & support staff,’ the department wrote on Twitter.
The department said that the passengers were evaluated by a medical crew as they were brought to safety at the dock.

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