Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 18:40 UK

Blunder traps eight on cliff lift

Scarborough cliff lifts
The town's cliff lifts date back to 1875. Picture courtesy Scarborough council.

Eight people were stranded in a cliff-side lift for more than an hour after workers turned it off and went home.

The passengers, three elderly people and a family of five, were stuck halfway up Scarborough's South Cliff after the lift system was shut down.

The occupants were released from the carriage after firefighters contacted an engineer who helped restart the 285ft (87m) lift on Wednesday evening.

Scarborough council has blamed "staff error" and apologised for the incident.

The cliff lift, on Scarborough's south bay, links the South Cliff Esplanade with the Spa entertainment complex.

It was the first funicular railway to open in Britain in July 1875.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We received a call at 1746 BST on Wednesday reporting that eight people were stuck in a lift halfway up the side of a cliff.

"Crews liaised with staff from the Spa complex to enable the lift to move to the top of the cliff."

'Full investigation'

The passengers were released just before 1900 BST.

The fire service said one of the passengers, a 78-year-old man from a local care home, was left "shaken" by the incident and was walked back to his home by firefighters.

Brian Bennett, Scarborough Borough Council's head of tourism and culture, said: "At this stage, we are able to confirm that this unfortunate incident was the result of a staff error and not a technical problem with the operation of the lift.

"We are continuing to investigate the matter fully and are reviewing all our operational procedures.

"We have all the contact details of the customers that were affected and our staff have been contacting them to offer our sincere apologies."



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