60 rescued after ferris wheel at Orlando's ICON Park catches fire, just months after fatal incident

60 rescued after ferris wheel at Orlando's ICON Park catches fire, just months after fatal incident
Spectators saw sparks and fire shoot out from The Wheel at ICON Park in Florida before rescue team brought riders to safety (YouTube/ClickOrlando)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA: At least 62 visitors at a Florida amusement park were left in the dark while riding the Ferris Wheel Saturday night, December 31. The Wheel at ICON Park in Orlando reportedly lost power at around 6.20 pm on New Year's Eve as spectators saw sparks and fire shoot out from one of the pods.

ADVERTISEMENT

Orange County Fire and Rescue responded to the scene shortly after and sent ladders up the 400-foot ride to all 20 occupied pods nearly three hours after the reported outage. The rescue service confirmed that all pods and units had been cleared and no injuries were reported at the time of publication.

ADVERTISEMENT

ALSO READ

Orlando FreeFall ride that took life of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson to be be torn down, announces operator

Colorado amusement park Glenwood Caverns shuts down after girl, 6, dies at drop ride

ADVERTISEMENT

"All guests in The Wheel have safely disembarked after the attraction lost power on Saturday night," ICON Park said in a statement following the successful rescue operation. Video footage captured by onlookers showed sparks coming from the wires of one of the pods. The fire crews said they didn't know what caused the power outage or the sparks. They explained that there was no way to talk to the people who were on the ride when the power went out. Considering this, responding firefighters immediately sent climbers up on the ride to let the riders know what was going on and asked them to avoid panicking. They set up ladder trucks to rescue people from the lower pods first.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

According to WESH 2, rescue teams manually moved the Ferris wheel to lower the pods to the ground. They said they worked and coordinated with the staff and the operations team at ICON Park and revealed that at least 60 firefighters were at the scene. At 9.40 pm, officials updated that 62 people had already been escorted to safety as the rescue efforts continued. Division Chief Martis Mack explained how they conducted the rescue operation. "As we rotate it down, we're having to manually open the door, so it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for each pod, for us to get it open and to get people out," Mack said. "We've trained hours and hours on this type of rescue, so we were ready for this," he told WESH 2.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

The probe into the incident is now being handed to the sheriff's office that will investigate what led to the power failure. The Wheel opened in 2015 after three years of construction, per the ICON Park website. The ride is reportedly 400 feet tall and has air-conditioned enclosures for riders.

ADVERTISEMENT

TOP STORIES

Idaho massacre: Suspect Bryan Christopher Kohberger in CUSTODY in brutal slaying of 4 University students

'You gave me Covid': Dem Rep Katie Porter denies she fired staffer over Covid as text screenshots emerge

ADVERTISEMENT

It's worth noting that the outage and subsequent evacuation at ICON Park took place just months after a 14-year-old boy fell to his death from the park's Free Fall ride. Tyre Sampson lost his life after falling from the ride in March.



 

ADVERTISEMENT

An investigation later concluded that the ride's operators did not adhere to proper procedures and had adjusted the ride to accommodate Sampson. The findings led the state to levy a $250,000 penalty against the ride's operator. The probe also led to proposed changes to state law so it would include more inspections, better training for ride operators, as well as stricter requirements to obtain ride permits, WESH 2 reported.

Share this article: 60 rescued after ferris wheel at Orlando's ICON Park catches fire, just months after fatal incident