Four people were arrested on Saturday for allegedly vandalizing the Skyfari Aerial Tram at the San Diego Zoo in Southern California, which left more than 100 people stranded for hours, authorities said.
The four men, aged 20 to 24, were allegedly “rocking back and forth” in their gondola, officials told local media. It caused the “Skyfari” gondola system to shut down automatically, leaving the other passengers stranded for about an hour, said the San Diego Fire Department in a Twitter post, which added later that “all guests are safely on the ground.”
The four men’s identities were not disclosed by police.
Hussein Alhamadami and his girlfriend were among those who were stranded on the gondola. Recalling the shutdown, Alhamadami said it wasn’t clear to passengers why the ride stopped.
“We were just hoping that we were going to get down soon,” Alhamadami told Fox5. “It would swing back and forth for a few seconds and then it would stop.”
SDFD crews at the Zoo assisting patrons who were stuck on the Skyfari ride for about an hour. Now unstuck & patrons safely exiting gondolas on their own. Some may need medical eval. SDFD crews remaining until all are on the ground. #sdzoo pic.twitter.com/LdSudI7AOE
— SDFD (@SDFD) January 30, 2022
“They were staying stuff on the speaker,” he continued to say. “I couldn’t really hear so I had to call customer service and they said it would take about 20 minutes but unfortunately, it took about two hours.”
“We were walking around seeing the animals and then we look up and everyone’s stuck,” zoo visitor Jordan Gakstatter told KNSD.
Marissa Florendo, another visitor, added to the station: “They had told everyone to get out of the line and we noticed as we were going through the park that pretty much it was stopped and people were up there for a really long time.”
Zoo officials told the Fox affiliate station that stranded passengers were each given complimentary tickets for a future visit to the zoo.
The ride features 28 gondolas holding up to four people each, according to the zoo’s website. It says that riders are provided with “an airborne shortcut over the treetops to the other end of the Zoo, and … spectacular views of the Zoo and surrounding Balboa Park” in San Diego, it says.