Sixteen people were trapped on a SeaWorld gondola ride, and rescues were underway on the evening of February 18, 2019. You can see photos and videos throughout this story. Local news outlets were posting live video as the rescue commenced, but the darkness added to the scary vibe.
“Rescue crews are almost two hours into a rescue operation involving 16 people stuck on a malfunctioning gondola ride at SeaWorld. One person has been rescued at this time. The operation continues . . .” San Diego Fire Rescue wrote around 9:15 p.m. on February 18, 2019. A few minutes later, two more people were rescued. ”
“SEAWORLD RESCUE UPDATE: 2 juveniles have now been lowered by harnesses & rescued by @SDLifeguards boats. 9 adults and 5 juveniles remain,” San Diego fire wrote about 9:30 p.m. Just after 10 p.m.: “8 rescues have been performed by our Technical Rescue Team firefighters. 4 adults and four juveniles have been rescued. 8 victims remain.” At 10:30 p.m.: “Technical Rescue Team firefighters have rescued 14 of the 16 passengers stuck on a gondola ride. They are being evaluated by medical crews as they are brought to a dock.”
The people trapped included a child and person who is partially paralyzed, according to News8. The people were trapped in five cars on the ride.
According to San Diego police, the incident occurred after “a big gust of wind tripped a circuit breaker.” Some of the gondolas dangled over water, KTLA-TV reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
The People Were Stuck on the Bayside Skyride for Hours
In what must have been a terribly frightening situation, the people on the ride – called the Bayside Skyride – were trapped for hours. You can read more about that ride here.
San Diego Fire and Rescue officials were working to rescue the trapped people and said it was a chilly night – 48 degrees, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The newspaper reported that the wind gust that struck SeaWorld was 20 miles per hour.
Here’s video of the press update officials gave at the scene.
Family members awaited news of loved ones:
A Fox 5 San Diego reporter wrote on Twitter, “#HappeningNow I’m hearing rescue officials talking over a loudspeaker asking each gondola how many people are inside and how many children. These people have been stuck on the Bayside Skyride now for nearly 3 hours.@fox5sandiego.”
People weighed in on Twitter. “How will the FD get them down? So scary! And it’s so cold and windy out tonight! 🌧💨,” wrote one person. “Imagine being trapped at @SeaWorld….oh wait….literally exactly how every WILD animal that works there feels like,” wrote another.
Others had a similar idea. “Trapped in a tight space with strangers, exposed to the elements, unable to return to your natural habitat – sounds like an authentic orca experience at SeaWorld,” wrote another woman. “There are also thousands of innocent animals trapped in SeaWorld everyday. I wish they could be rescued too. 🙁” commented another.