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100 Rescued From Sky Way Gondola Ride at Disneyland

Times Staff Writers

Fantasyland and part of Tomorrowland were closed at Disneyland in Anaheim on Saturday night while firefighters spent nearly 4 hours rescuing about 100 visitors from a Sky Way ride that abruptly shut down 40 feet above the theme park.

No injuries were reported.

Anaheim Police Sgt. James George said that one of the gondolas may have come loose from the overhead cable. Most of the trapped visitors had to wait several hours in the gondolas while firefighters used cherry pickers and other hook-and-ladder equipment to lower them one at a time.

The problem apparently occurred when people in one of the gondolas began to swing it to and fro “in a rather extraordinary fashion,” according to park spokesman Bob McTyre.

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Tyre said the visitors’ dangerous act set off the safety system on the ride at 5:53 p.m., which automatically shut it down.

Disneyland officials refused to permit reporters into the area where the mishap occurred. But McTyre said that the trapped visitors showed patience while they waited to be lowered to safety.

There were no reports that any of the visitors who reportedly caused the problem had been arrested.

Other areas of the park remained open during the incident, and Tyre said that Disneyland officials extended the normal midnight closing time to 1 a.m. today to help offset any inconvenience to visitors.

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He added that Disneyland expected to reopen Fantasyland and the section of Tomorrowland after the last of the trapped visitors are rescued.

Tyre said a doctor had seen the group swinging the gondola as much as 5 feet in each direction and reported it to authorities. But at the same time, the ride’s automatic safety system kicked into place.

Tyre said Disneyland officials would wait until all the guests had been rescued before investigating further.

The firefighters, from Anaheim, Garden Grove and the Orange County fire deparments, reportedly began rescuing the visitors in Tomorrowland and worked their way toward Fantasyland, with huge spotlights underneath each gondola to aid them.


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