Cable car issue at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park traps 210 riders mid-air in winter cold


Some 210 cable car riders at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park were left hanging in mid-air for half an hour in the winter cold on Saturday night due to a mechanical issue, South China Morning Post  has published.

A spokeswoman for the Southern District amusement park said shortly before midnight that one of the two ropeways for the cable car system was suspended temporarily at 7.43pm, and that park staff had immediately performed an inspection.

“[The staff] found that the station railing on the platform had hit a cabin due to strong wind, resulting in its misalignment, which interfered with the movement of the rest of the cable car cabins,” she said.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued the first cold weather warning of the winter on Saturday afternoon, as the temperature dropped to as low as 10 degrees Celsius in some areas. The weather forecaster recorded 13 degrees in Wong Chuk Hang, where the park is located, at the time of the incident.

The spokeswoman said that no passengers were injured in the incident. Ropeway operation resumed at 8.16pm, after an urgent adjustment. Guests on that ropeway were able to start leaving the cabins.

“By 8.52pm, all 210 guests on the ropeway safely exited the ride without injury. During this period, the other ropeway and the Ocean Express funicular trains continued to operate and serve the guests of the park,” she continued.

Ocean Park informed the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of the incident immediately. It pledged to carry out a thorough examination of the cable car system before resuming operation of the ropeway.

In November 2012, 95 riders were left in mid-air for about half an hour when one of the ropeways was suspended temporarily.

The park explained at the time that a cabin had failed to release its grip from the cable normally, prompting the cable car system to stop automatically as a safety precaution. No one was hurt.

A similar incident took place in August 2007, when 280 passengers were trapped in the cable cars for eight minutes after a conveyor belt broke.