BUENA PARK (CBSLA.com) – Twenty-one people who were trapped on a stalled ride for more than seven hours at the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park were rescued Friday night.
In a statement, Knott’s Berry Farm said that “”all 20 guests and one ride operator were safely on the ground by 9:54 p.m.”
At about 2 p.m. the Sky Cabin ride stopped approximately 100 feet in the air, Knott’s Berry Farm told CBS2. Maintenance crews made several unsuccessful attempts to bring the ride down before contacting the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA).
The OCFA said that four technical rescue teams were called to the park just before 5 p.m.
“What we’re gonna do right now is formulate a plan on exactly how to bring them down,” Capt. Larry Kurtz told CBS2 said early in the evening.
By 6:30 p.m., the rescuers had climbed to the top of the ride, about 225-feet up, and rappelled down to the trapped passengers in the cabin. At around 7:15 p.m., the OCFA began rappelling people to safety using a line and a harness. Women and children were being rescued first. As of 9 p.m., 11 people had been rescued. One little girl clung to a firefighter as a rope lowered her to the ground.
Eddie Kim told CBS2’s Stacey Butler that three of his children were on the ride when it stalled.
“My two daughters came down… my eight-year-old girl was crying when she came down,” Kim said.
The OCFA tried to bring in a cherry picker lift that would have allowed for multiple people to be rescued at once. However, that attempt failed and firefighters were forced to resort to rappelling one person at a time.
It was not immediately clear what may have caused the ride to stall.
Knott’s Berry Farm describes the Sky Cabin, which was built in the 1970s, as a “fully enclosed revolving observation ride.” In it’s statement late Friday night, the amusement park said the ride would remain closed “until the park’s investigation into the cause of the incident is completed.”