Singapore Flyer grounded to a halt due to technical fault
By Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 23 December 2008 1843 hrs
SINGAPORE: The world's largest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer grounded to a halt at about 5pm on Tuesday. After four hours, the Flyer was still not moving.
A passenger who was stuck in one of the capsules said there was a sudden jerk before the wheel stopped turning. An announcement a few minutes later said there was a technical error.
Mdm Lim Boon Siang, a passenger stuck in one of the capsules, said: "About 4.30pm or 4.15pm, after we passed the maximum altitude, it suddenly jerked to a stop, and then for a good five to ten minutes, we waited.
"We thought that this could be something normal. And then there was a message that came in that said that it has stopped temporary. Everybody was calm, but initially the air-con was switched off, so it was very hot due to the evening sun. They opened up the air ventilator, and the air-con if I am not wrong is working now."
She said there were about 10 other people, including children, in her cabin.
When contacted, a Singapore Flyer spokesperson confirmed the incident and said a technical team is trying to fix the problem.
She added that at the time of the incident, 23 capsules were occupied with over 100 passengers.
The spokesperson said: "Their safety was never at risk while they were in the capsules. Every capsule is equipped with an intercom system which is linked to the control room - for passengers and the control room personnel to communicate.
"Our staff promptly informed passengers of the situation and reassured them that measures were being taken to fix the technical problem. There are also surveillance cameras installed in every capsule for the operations team to monitor what is going on in all capsules."
Steps are being taken to evacuate some of the passengers. They are being put in safety harnesses before being slowly lowered to the ground. Others have been told over the intercom that food and drink will be sent to them.
A ride on the 165-metre tall wheel, about 42 storeys high, typically takes half an hour and each capsule can take up to 28 people.
Since the Flyer became operational in February this year, this is the third time it has encountered problems.
The last time a technical glitch occurred was just three weeks ago, on December 4. The wheel was stuck for nearly five hours due to extreme weather conditions and some 70 people were affected.
In July, the Flyer stopped due to a minor fault in the braking system. - CNA/vm