The Orlando Eye, a 400-foot Ferris wheel, stopped moving for over 45 minutes on Friday with 66 riders aboard, according to media reports. Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy told the Associated Press (AP) that some firefighters rescued the people from the enclosed capsule using ladders.
Kennedy said that it took three hours for the rescue effort to be completed, and that "all guests are safely evacuated." She added that six elite climbers from the fire rescue squad were also dispatched to the location but weren't needed for a climb.
Orlando Eye said that the ride got stuck due to a “technical fault,” NBC News reported, citing the company's statement.
"At approximately 3:45 p.m., the operating systems for the Orlando Eye indicated a technical default with the system that monitors the wheel position of the Orlando Eye. As a safety precaution, the attraction is designed to automatically shut down if communication with this system is interrupted," Andrea Alava, a public relations manager for the Orlando Eye, said in an emailed statement, according to the AP.
The Eye officials also reportedly kept a two-way audio and visual contact with the stuck riders to ensure their safety. None of the riders required medical attention following the incident.
"Immediately following the default, the operations team began working to resolve the matter to allow guests to disembark the attraction. A backup system was employed that allowed capsules to be moved to the platform and opened manually," Alava reportedly said.
Orlando Eye also apologized for “the inconvenience" and added "with that completed, we are now focused on reinstating the systems and restoring full operations of the Orlando Eye."
The Orlando Eye is run by Merlin Entertainments PLC, which also owns the London Eye.