(FOX 11/CNS) - Knott's Berry Farm officials are investigating the cause of a malfunction that left 21 people stranded for nearly eight hours Friday 125 feet above the ground. The park's iconic Sky Cabin ride got stuck at 2 pm but the 20 guests and one ride operator onboard didn't make it back down until just before 10 at night.
Park workers made several attempts to bring the ride down before calling the fire department. Firefighters had to climb up into the ride's cabin and lower people down one-by-one.
The revolving observation ride is enclosed and the riders were safe, Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority said.
"After the Knott's Berry Farm maintenance team made several attempts to bring the attraction down, we contacted the Orange County Fire Authority to assist," according to a park statement.
Fire department rescuers were called to the scene shortly before 5 p.m.
Technical rescue experts were among the OCFA responders at the scene, Kurtz said.
Firefighters appeared to access the top of the ride through its central hub and from there rappelled down to the passenger cabin.
About 7 p.m., they began lowering the passengers to the ground one at a time, but with each strapped to a firefighter.
All questions about the incident were referred to Knott's officials, who did not immediately respond to phone messages or emailed questions seeking details about how many were stranded, how many children were aboard the ride, why it took three hours to call the fire department and if the attraction had malfunctioned before.
A statement posted on the park's Twitter account said, "The safety of park guests and employees is our number one priority."
"Each of Knott's rides is inspected, check-listed and properly maintained daily. Sky Cabin will remain closed until the park's investigation into the cause of the incident is completed."
Knott's Berry Farm is one of 13 amusement parks operated by publicly-traded Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, based in Sandusky, Ohio.
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