News State Victoria Melbourne’s giant Ferris wheel breaks down, stranding passengers
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Melbourne’s giant Ferris wheel breaks down, stranding passengers

melbourne observation wheel
A woman who said her family was onboard described the situation as "absolutely disgraceful". Photo: Flickr (Chris Phutully)
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Operators of a giant Ferris wheel in Melbourne have apologised after an engine malfunction left almost 100 people stranded in the air for more than an hour.

The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel in Docklands stopped working about 6pm on Saturday, leaving 95 people stranded in cabins up to 120 metres off the ground.

Nicole Hill, the director of marketing for the wheel, said all guests were safely disembarked about an hour later.

“We are really sorry that our passengers were inconvenienced last night when the wheel stopped,” she said.

“For the first time in our five years of operating we had a minor technical issue with one of the 32 drive motors. As a result the wheel automatically stopped – as it should.”

Stranded passengers had access to water, jelly beans and toiletries, she added, and would be able to have their tickets refunded.

A Sydney woman, who asked not to be named, said she had family members on the wheel and described the situation as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“My family were stuck up there with kids and another family who also had kids,” the woman wrote on Facebook.

“Not once could my sister and her family hear of any updates of what was happening to the point the kids all started crying.”

The $100 million tourist attraction has attracted controversy since opening in 2009.

The wheel broke down 40 days after it took its first passengers and did not turn again for another five years, which angered local traders.

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