Dozens Ring In New Year Being Evacuated From 400-Foot Ferris Wheel

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A New Year’s Eve ride on a 400-foot-tall Ferris wheel sounds like a great idea. It suddenly becomes less of a great idea when that Ferris wheel loses power. That situation played out on Saturday in Orlando.

The ICON Park is an entertainment complex not far from Disney World and Universal Studios. It’s got an aquarium, a Madame Tussauds wax museum, and a bunch of restaurants. They also have a few very tall rides, including the 400-foot Ferris wheel known as The Wheel at ICON Park.

On New Year’s Eve around 6 o’clock, some revelers were starting to get their New Year’s festivities underway. They were probably thinking “Hey, let’s go for a quick ride on the Ferris wheel then we’ll get food at Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips then take a quick trip through the Museum of Illusions, then cap things off at Blake Shelton’s Ole Red.”

Those are all real things you can do there. However, that set of plans would’ve been cut short after the wheel lost power.

Sparks were spotted shooting out of the wheel as all of the pods went dark.

Imagine being in one of the ride’s twenty pods — which are big enough to walk around inside — and being stranded at the top of the wheel. Especially when you could look down and see sparks shooting out of the ride.

Even with just a few hours to go, that would be terrible enough to tank even the most kickass 2022.

This Was The Second High-Profile Incident At The Park In 2022

Orange County Fire And Rescue responded to the scene. They helped get all 62 people who were on the wheel at the time back onto solid ground within a few hours. All of the department’s rescue climbers responded to the incident, as did off-duty climbers.

ICON Park released a statement to Fox 35 Orlando about the incident but did not provide too many details.

“The Wheel lost power Saturday night and we’re working with the Orange County Fire Department to safely evacuate guests,” their statement said.

This incident caps off a brutal 2022 — with just hours to go — for ICON Park. In March, a 14-year-old fell to his death while riding the park’s 400-foot drop tower known as the Orlando Freefall. Before the incident, the now-closed ride was billed as the world’s tallest drop tower.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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