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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 18:37 GMT
Children's big wheel 'nightmare'
Cardiff's Winter Wonderland (Pic by Carl Morgan)
The big wheel can carry six people in each of its 40 carriages
Primary school children were stuck on a big wheel for 45 minutes when a winter treat turned into a "nightmare".

The Wheel of Wales at Cardiff's Winter Wonderland attraction, stopped during the evening while checks were carried out on the doors of all the gondolas.

A choir from Ysgol Gymraeg Coed-y-Gof were among those stranded as the passengers were slowly taken off. One parent described it as a "nightmare".

Cardiff Council, which runs the city centre attraction, apologised.

The choir of 40 children had been given free tickets for a ride on the wheel, which is about 60m (200ft).

They had performed Christmas carols by the city's open-air ice rink, which is part of the Winter Wonderland.

All the children panicked, they all began screaming hysterically
Sally Henwood, parent

The ride is meant to last for 10 minutes, but suddenly slowed down after five rotations, and the lights went off.

Sally Henwood, who was on the ride with daughter Sophie, eight, and four of her school friends when it stopped at about 2000 GMT on Monday, told the South Wales Echo: "All the children panicked, they all began screaming hysterically. It was freezing cold.

"This was supposed to be a treat and it turned into a nightmare. I will never allow my children to ride on the big wheel ever again."

She said some children had been allowed on the ride without parents, and that both parents and children were crying when finally reunited.

Rhiannon Dixon, a teacher at the school, in the Fairwater area of the city, said: "For a while, we thought it was part of the ride, but then we realised it wasn't.

'Very cold'

"Because we were so high up, we couldn't find out what was happening. It was very cold, and the wind was quite biting.

"The staff were very good when we got off, and offered refunds, even though we hadn't paid."

A council spokesperson apologised and said the wheel was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

"A safety light that normally illuminates when a gondola door is open was on and the decision was taken immediately to stop the flight and evacuate all passengers.

"All passengers left the wheel safely. Rigorous checks were carried out and the doors of all gondolas were found to be safe and secure.

"The wheel continued to operate throughout the evening without further incident."

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