Live

Watch CBSN Live

Drama at SeaWorld San Diego as 16 people stranded in gondolas above frigid Mission Bay rescued

San Diego — Sixteen people seated in five gondolas became trapped on the Bayside Skyride over the frigid waters of Mission Bay at SeaWorld San Diego Monday night, reports the CBS affiliate there, KFMB-TV. All were safe after a four-hour rescue operation.

The San Diego Fire Department said an infant and a partially paralyzed person who recently suffered a stroke were among those in the gondolas.

Firefighters were assisted by lifeguards in the water below the aerial tram during the rescue efforts. The lifeguards were said to have used at least two boats.

seaworld-san-diego-bayside-skyride-gondolas-rescue-021819.jpg
16 passengers were trapped at SeaWorld San Diego on night of February 18, 2019 in Bayside Skyride gondolas above frigid waters of Mission Bay KFMB-TV

The rescue operation began at roughly 7:15 p.m. local time. At about 11:15 p.m., the fire department tweeted an update:

The department said the passengers were being evaluated by medical crews when they were brought to a dock.

SeaWorld said each gondola was equipped with blankets and the park was in contact with the passengers via intercom, informing them of evacuation procedures among other things.

stranded-gondolas-seaworld-san-diego-101819.jpg
Two of the Bayside Skyride gondolas stuck over frigid Mission Bay waters at SeaWorld San Dieo on night of February 18, 2019; 16 passengers were stranded in five gondolas, officials said KFMB-TV

The San Diego Fire Department told KFMB high winds appear to have caused the problem with the ride. SeaWorld pointed directly at Mother Nature, saying in a statement that "an unusual gust of significant wind" was the culprit, adding that, "We will conduct a thorough inspection of the ride prior to re-opening."

KFMB meteorologist Shawn Styles said the water temperature in Mission Bay was around 58 to 59 degrees. The National Weather Service said the air temperature in San Diego at 10 p.m. was 46 degrees.