Helicopter scrambled after revellers spend New Year’s Eve stuck in mid-air in Rennes
Eight people were rescued from a funfair ride by helicopter after becoming stuck 50 metres high in the air on New Year’s Eve.
The group spent most of Monday night atop the 52-metre metal arm called BomberMaxxx after a new part broke and blocked the mechanics of the device in Rennes, in Brittany in north-west France.
Antoine, 23, who was trapped alongside two more adults and five teenagers, said: “It was long, it was cold and it was frightening.”
“I never thought I’d get out. It was very traumatic,” he said after the fire brigade brought an end to the nine-hour ordeal . A video posted on Twitter appeared to show the stuck ride.
Firefighters made several attempts to rescue the revellers, but their 30-metre ladder was too short. A helicopter was later called in and the first person to be rescued was winched up to the helicopter just before midnight. Then over several hours a rope system was set up to help evacuate the others one by one.
One woman described the moment the ride got stuck, saying: “We saw sparks, heard a big metal noise and feared the worst.”
The ride’s owner, Alexandre Thinel, said: “It’s a technical incident that has never happened before. Fortunately there was no danger to clients. The only problem was getting them down.”
In the early hours of the morning a fight broke out between the families involved and fairground workers. Teargas filled the air, but it was unclear who used it. The last person to be rescued touched the ground at 6am (0500 GMT).
Nicholas, 47, who was also rescued, said: “Next year, I’m staying at home with my champagne and biscuits.”