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Orlando Eye attraction reopened after 66 rescued

By Amy R. Connolly
Orlando Eye attraction reopened after 66 rescued
The Orlando Eye. Photo by Carl Stewart/Shutterstock

ORLANDO, Fla., July 4 (UPI) -- The Orlando Eye, a 400-foot observation ferris wheel in the city's tourist district, reopened Saturday afternoon after 66 riders were stranded for hours on the broken attraction.

A team of Orange County firefighters helped remove each of the stranded riders after the Eye came to a stop about 3:45 p.m. Friday. No one was injured.

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Firefighters were prepared for an aerial rescue, but decided it was unneccesary when backup generators powered the attraction, bringing each enclosed cars to the platform. Rescuers climbed into the gondolas through ceiling hatches and used a special door-opening tool to aid the escape.

"A backup system was employed that allowed capsules to be moved to the platform and opened manually. Throughout the process, representatives from the Orlando Eye maintained two-way audio and visual communications with guests to ensure their safety and comfort," the company said in a written statement.

Since the wheel opened in May, there have been several technical problems that forced it to shut down. In November, a construction worker was stranded on a lift 180 feet in the air while building the attraction.

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