Some visitors taking in the sites at the Montgomery Zoo found themselves stranded Monday, their Labor Day visit halted above the park when the complex's Zoofari Skylift Ride shut down.
Brittany Athey, her boyfriend and several other family members were riding the lift, watching the animals below when it suddenly stopped. She says her group was stranded for nearly an hour and a half as crews from the Montgomery Police and Fire Departments worked to fix the problem. Park officials estimate the delay at approximately 40 minutes.
"We were terrified," Athey said. " I think the Zoo heard me scream."
Deputy Zoo Director Marsha Woodard said the skylift shut down as part of the system's safety mechanism. "If there is any variance from where the wire goes over the rollers, the system is automatically set to...for the computer to shut down."
Woodard says at the time of the shutdown, there were 8 people on the ride. Crews made sure the patrons were given water as they worked to get them down.
Reassuring future riders of its safety, Woodard said the system worked as it should have, "to protect them."
Athey and her group said it was their first, and last, time to get on the lift, but they added they will return to the zoo. They walked away from the experience pleased with how zoo officials and emergency crews responded.
Woodard said the system is currently going through a thorough safety check before it will be used again by the public.
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