Left hanging: World’s 5th largest Ferris wheel Orlando Eye strands riders for up to 3 hours

AFP Photo / Roberto Gonzalez
More than 60 people had to be rescued from a 400-foot-tall observation wheel in Orlando which stalled due to a technical glitch. Riders were left hanging for more than two hours.

The computer system of the Orlando Eye, an observation wheel the height of a 40-storey building, malfunctioned around 3:45 pm, causing the attraction to automatically shut down, according to local Channel 9.

A backup generator only got the wheel moving again around 6 pm.

During the interim, a special team of firefighters was engaged in considering various rescue options, including airlifting.

Although the gondolas eventually started moving again and slowly reached the ground, they still wouldn’t open automatically. Firefighters had to use ladders to help people escape through hatches in the top.

The Orlando Eye is the fifth tallest Ferris wheel in the world; just 13 meters shy of the London Eye. It has been plagued with problems since its opening in May 2015, according to the Orland Sentinel. Just after its first week of operation, the ride’s operating system “indicated an irregularity,” shutting it down for more than 30 hours. This is the first time people have actually been stuck at the top of the wheel.