Drone Video of Rescues: Wheel at Orlando ICON Park Loses Power With 63 on Board
The Wheel at ICON Park, located on Orlando’s International Drive, lost power on New Year’s Eve, stranding 63 people on the ride. Orange County Fire Rescue rescued stranded tourists, and now you can watch it on the newly released drone video.
The video taken by drone shows fire crews climbing up into over 20 of the passenger pods containing 63 people who all had to be brought down when the 400-foot wheel lost power and stranded them, with some passengers stranded as high as 200 feet.
Allegedly, a fire caused the power outage, and a cell phone video showed sparks and smoke coming from the side of the wheel.
Orange County Fire Rescue was planning to set up a zipline-type system to send passengers safely to the ground, but it wasn’t needed. Icon Park was able to manually move the wheel to get passengers off, but that was after firefighters rescued 63 people from around 20 capsules by using their ladder trucks.
The Wheel at ICON lost power on Saturday evening, and the Orange County Fire Rescue on the scene working to rescue riders from the attraction. https://t.co/fjzyFgkHG2
— News 6 WKMG (@news6wkmg) January 1, 2023
Update: A total of 62 individuals have been rescued from pods on the Orlando Wheel at @iconparkorlando. Rescue climbers are still conducting rescues. Additional info to follow. https://t.co/WmvReRAyZl pic.twitter.com/9QAGhbiFDV
— OCFire Rescue (@OCFireRescue) January 1, 2023
Captain Hubbard, the on-scene commander with Orange County Fire Rescue, stated this was the largest rescue the department has been involved with. Orange County Fire Rescue. Even so, the Special Operations section trains on the wheel 12 times a year, usually during overnight hours, and they had just prepared for this scenario a few weeks earlier.
With the number of theme parks in Orange County, Fire Rescue departments train for such rescues.
Since the power to the wheel was cut off, firefighters couldn’t see, or talk to the passengers, So they had to look inside each pod and make eye contact with the passengers individually.
“I know some calls were placed to 911 from people inside the gondola, but we had very limited information,” Hubbard said. “So, we did a lot of reconnaissance. Unfortunately for us, that recon meant visiting every gondola, accessing that gondola, and then ensuring that everyone inside was safe. And then reassuring them that the fire department was here and that we would rescue them if need be. Were people panicking? Of course, many people were panicking, but they were reassured once we got there.”
A spokesperson for ICON Park said Florida state ride inspectors would review the attraction before reopening. Updates on the re-opening will be provided on their website and social media.
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