2005-11-16 15:53:49 UTC
Nov. 16, 2005
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tourists stranded on ride
Power outage leaves Stratosphere in dark
By Brian Haynes
A power outage shut down rides atop the Stratosphere Tuesday night, leaving
a group of Japanese tourists dangling more than 800 feet above the ground
for about 90 minutes.
Electricity to the tower went out at 5:45 p.m. when a car hit a power
transformer in the area, officials said. The tower went dark, and the rides
that usually bounce, spin and teeter high above the Strip suddenly stopped.
The six stranded tourists were aboard the X-Scream ride. It's the world's
third highest thrill ride at 866 feet, according to the hotel's Web site.
The ride "propels riders 27 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower and
dangles them over the Strip before pulling its riders back and over again
for more!" the site says.
When the power went out, however, the ride didn't pull the riders back, and
the tourists were stuck hanging over the ledge of the tower as temperatures
dropped into the 50s and winds gusted at about 10 mph. The ride remained
stuck until power was restored about 7:15 p.m., said Mike Gilmartin, a
He said the ride was designed with a manual override that allows workers to
bring the X-Scream back to the observation deck in emergencies, but he could
not explain why the tourists weren't returned to safety until power came
The Las Vegas Fire Department's heavy rescue team was called at 7:04 p.m. to
help, but the tourists were safe by the time the team arrived.
Five of the tourists, four men and a woman, were taken to University Medical
Center for treatment. While she waited in the emergency room, the woman sat
bundled in a fleece jacket bearing the Stratosphere logo. The tourists
During the power outage, rides up to the observation deck atop the tower
were shut down. When a group of about 20 Asian tourists learned of the
closure, a collective groan filled the lobby.
The incident was the second in the past seven months that left
thrill-seekers stranded on a Stratosphere ride.
In April, two cousins were stuck on Insanity for about 80 minutes before
workers pulled them to safety.
Erica McKinnon, 18, and Gabriella Cecineros, 11, were alone on the last ride
of the night when high winds reaching 61 mph caused the ride to stop. The
girls were stuck 64 feet from the tower's observation deck and more than 900
feet above the ground.
The ride was designed to stop in high winds and would have returned had the
winds subsided. But they didn't, so workers had to manually pull the ride
back to the deck.
The ride, which spins riders on octopus-like arms, was closed for several
days of inspections before reopening.