The "Skyliner" gondolas, Walt Disney World Resorts most recent transportation system, suffered a major malfunction Saturday night, causing some of it's riders to be trapped in the air for over 3 hours. The accident also included some of the gondolas crashing into each other at the Riviera Resort station.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the system suffered a power outage, but other sources say a gondola jumped the cable, so we have not received any official confirmation of the cause. No injuries were reported, although one user on Twitter stated she saw a woman from the gondola in front of her taken by ambulance once they got her safely on the ground.
WDW released a statement Sunday morning regarding the incident: "One of the three Disney Skyliner routes experienced an unexpected downtime Saturday evening. As a result, the Skyliner will be closed while we look into the details surrounding this downtime. We apologize for this situation, and are working with each guest individually regarding impacts to their visit with us."
The cable system has almost 300 gondolas that can hold 10 people in each, travels approximately 11mph, and the highest peak is 60 feet in the air. All guests that were stranded have now been evacuated, and the company that built them (Doppelmayr) is already on site.
The gondolas were equipped with emergency kits that included water pouches, cold packs, glow sticks, vomit bags, and writing supplies, but did not have restroom facilities. The trapped guests heard an emergency message on repeat through speakers for over 3 hours, but were not told how long until they would each be rescued, as emergency pensonnel were only able to remove guests a couple at a time down ladders. Once guests were safely back on the ground, cast members were waiting with cases of bottled water and buses were waiting to transport everyone to where they needed to go.
(We will update information on the cause once it is available, or when Disney releases an official statement.)