Engineers will inspect sky ride incident at Indianapolis Zoo

(WISH Photo/Nick Nebesny)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A team of engineers will investigate why the sky ride at the Indianapolis Zoo stopped this weekend, stranding several passengers in their cars.

Zoo officials said the team is from Chance Rides, the company that designed the sky ride which is above the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.

The engineers are flying in from Wichita, Kansas, where the company is based. The crew should arrive Monday evening and will begin inspections depending on the weather.

Once they figure out what went wrong and get it up and running, zoo officials said a second round of inspections will happen.

The Indiana Department of Homeland security will conduct the inspections. Those engineers will then approve whether or not the ride can be reopened. Officials say the entire investigation could take up to a week.

The Indianapolis Fire Department said the sky ride stopped around 5 p.m. Sunday. Zoo officials said it was a controlled stop that involved six cars. Zoo technicians called IFD about 25 minutes later to assist after not being able to start the ride back up on their own.

“We have all kinds of mechanisms in place here as a backup and safety,” said Judy Palermo, Public Relations Senior Manager. “Can’t really say exactly what happened right now until the ride manufacturer gets here and takes a look.”

IFD used a ladder to rescue the 12 riders on the four lower cars. They used a lift basket to reach the two cars that were about 40 feet in the air. They then used a harness system to secure six passengers — four adults and two children — before lowering them in the basket.

A few weeks earlier, IFD held a training scenario at the sky ride for this exact situation. IFD said although the exercise happened recently, they planned it months earlier when they learned the sky ride was being built.

“We always pick the hardest place to do our training so it’s easier for the rescue if we ever have to attempt it,” said Cpt. Scott Huff, Special Operations Division with IFD. “We worked a series of several months coming up with a training plan and working with the zoo and their crew working with us. Developed a plan, plan worked, and took action yesterday.”

“We’re just so happy that everyone was safe and calm,” said Palermo. “It was good to have all the guests in good spirits when they came down.”

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