Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Work on London Eye halted
Work on lifting the wheel was to have lasted for 16 hours
Plans to hoist a giant 443ft Ferris wheel into position beside the River Thames have been suspended after a support cable came loose.
The wheel was being lifted into position in an operation which was to have lasted for 16 hours.
Work stopped when the cable, which was temporarily connecting the central hub of the wheel to the outer part, came loose, causing others to do the same.
Spokesman Jamie Bowden of British Airways, which is sponsoring the project, said the cables would not be a permanent part of the structure, but were being used during the lifting of the wheel.
Work to jack up the wheel, which has been assembled in a horizontal position above the river, involved six cranes and hydraulic lifts. It is a feat of engineering unlike any attempted before.
Project leaders held an emergency meeting immediately after the incident and it was decided to suspend the lifting operation.
It weighs 1,500 tonnes and when upright, will tower over the historic landmarks of St Pauls and Big Ben.
Project director Paul Baxter said people will be awestruck by its size.
"When it's up I think it will be the first time that people will really appreciate the sheer scale and drama of the structure.
The wheel, which is set to be a major millennium attraction, has faced several cancelled lift dates and criticism that it should have been ready for the summer tourists.
Architects David Marks and Julia Barfield first proposed the wheel in response to a Sunday Times Millennium competition.
The wheel will continuously revolve slowly - not even stopping for passengers who will hop in and out of glass gondolas.
It was expected to take 16 hours to hoist the wheel to a 65 degree angle. Then one of the world's largest marine cranes was to winch into place two towers that will house the drive system that will eventually turn the wheel.
The wheel will be officially opened on millennium eve by the Prime Minister Tony Blair.