Singapore: 39 people trapped for over 4 hours on Sky Tower ride in Sentosa

On Sunday, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has issued a "closure order to suspend the ride from operation".

Tiger Sky Tower Sentosa Official Website

A mechanical fault left 39 riders, including 4 kids and one operator, stranded for more than four hours on the Tiger Sky Tower ride, which is 25 m in the air (about eight storeys high) at Sentosa on Saturday night.

Sentosa said in a statement that operations of the Sky Tower were suspended at about 5.35 pm following the fault. On Sunday, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said it has issued a "closure order to suspend the ride from operation".

"BCA was informed by the operator of the Tiger Sky Tower rider on Sentosa on 12 August at around 7.30pm about a system malfunction with passengers trapped on the ride. BCA engineers were onsite to investigate the incident," the statement added.

On Facebook, the Singapore Civil Defence Force updated that all the 38 riders, including the children, were doing fine.

"Bottles of water and food were distributed to guests, as engineers from Sky Tower worked to lower the gondola. The capsule also has a mobile toilet," Sentosa's statement said.

"Sentosa Rangers were subsequently called in to assist Sky Tower's engineers with the manual winching to lower the gondola," Sentosa said. "At 7.10pm, SCDF was activated for assistance and SCDF staff were in the capsule with the passengers to prepare for an evacuation. All passengers are safe in the capsule."

However, in an updated statement the authorities added that "all passengers were able to leave the gondola safely".

When asked about the maintenance of the ride, Alexander Melchers, director of Sky Tower told Channel NewsAsia that ride maintenance had been carried out earlier that morning. "We have a very strict maintenance regime before we open the ride," he said. "We run all the safety checks and we regularly have a Sky Tower engineer at the Sky Tower at all times during operations. However at this point in time we cannot identify the cause of incident."

Sentosa said that an investigation is going on to find out the cause of the fault and the Tiger Sky Tower is closed until further notice.

"We have taken the decision to suspend the ride until we really know what happened, so that we can ensure that the attraction will (continue) to operate very safely," Melchers told Channel NewsAsia.

He also added that the passengers, who were stuck at the ride, will be compensated with the "recovery cost" of making their way home. Riders, who have missed a flight after being stranded will be provided with hotel accommodation.

The passengers have also been given full ticket refunds of S$18 for adults and S$12 for children, he added.

According to the official website of Sentosa, the Tiger Sky Tower stands 131m above sea level and is Singapore's tallest observatory tower. The attraction involves a seven-minute rotating gondola ride that ascends to the top of the tower.

However, this is not the first time when passengers were trapped while enjoying the ride. In June 2010, 36 people were stuck for more than two hours at the 30-metre mark due to a mechanical fault.

Later again in July 2010, another 11 passengers were trapped on the ride for almost an hour. They were rescued by staff who reached them via a central stairway within the tower.