Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 12:45 UK

Theme park ride sees two rescues

Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington World of Adventures said two groups of visitors were rescued

Forty people had to be rescued when a ride at a theme park stalled for a second time in three days.

Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey said the rescues followed power cuts on Saturday and Monday.

London fire crews rescued 50 people from the Safari Skyride on Saturday evening, and a further 40 on Monday.

EDF said several thousand people in the area lost their electric supplies on Monday after a cable fault, but it had no records for a fault on Saturday.

It's happened very rarely, and it's never happened before
Chessington spokeswoman

The first power cut happened at closing time, but on Monday all rides had to be evacuated and the park was closed.

A spokeswoman for Chessington said most evacuations were carried out by park staff within 15 to 20 minutes.

But the Safari Skyride, which has train carriages travelling around the park boundary, took up to two hours and the assistance of fire crews.

She said: "It has small carriages, and when they stop in difficult places we need to move them from awkward places."

Lion enclosure

Children on the ride were given bottles of water and snacks while they waited to be brought down, she added.

And she said: "We're very sorry.

"The electric firm is investigating. We have been running for many years. It's happened very rarely, and it's never happened before."

Reports that groups of visitors were left hovering over lion enclosures or were brought down among sea lions were untrue, the spokeswoman said.

She said one group was brought down next to the sea life enclosure, but not in it.

The Skyride did not go over any enclosures, and neither the animals nor the park's security system were at risk, she added.

The park also had power back-up for its sea life aquarium.

A statement from EDF said there was a power interruption in the Leatherhead Road area of Chessington, which included the theme park.

It said: "A fault developed on a high-voltage underground electricity cable at 12.47pm. Our engineers restored the first supplies at 1.25pm with the final customers having power again at 3.06pm.

"We appreciate how difficult it can be to lose power, especially during a holiday season, and would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident."

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