The Wheel at ICON Park reopens after inspection, power outage; cause still unclear
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Wheel at ICON Park – the 400-foot Ferris wheel along Orlando's International Drive – is open again, weeks after it suffered an abrupt power failure on New Year's Eve requiring the rescue of 60 people onboard.
In a news release, the owners of ICON Park said all the ride's components had been inspected, affected parts had been replaced and upgraded, and that the ride passed all of its inspections, including one by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which oversees ride inspections at most theme parks, in order to reopen.
What is not known, however, is what specifically caused the power outage and what appeared to be a shower of sparks above one of the gondolas moments after, according to video that was shared with FOX 35 that night.
FOX 35 has sent a follow-up email to ICON Park representatives with that question. FOX 35 has also reached out to FDACS for more information, and to request the inspection report.
ICON Park said it worked with Intamin Amusement Rides, the Ferris wheels' manufacturer, its own internal teams, and outside engineers to inspect the ride and make repairs, and added "supplemental safeguards to "prevent the interruption in power to occur again." The release did not specify what those safeguard were.
"We'd like to thank the technical team and our outside engineering partners who have worked hundreds of additional hours to help complete repairs and the meticulous inspections required by our internal safety protocols," said ICON Park CEO Chris Jaskiewicz in a prepared statement.
The Wheel has undergone successful testing the last few days, ICON Park said in its release.
A total of 62 people were rescued from inside 20 gondolas, fire officials told FOX 35. Technical rescue crews had to manually rotate the massive wheel and open each gondola individually. No one was injured, officials said.
The Wheel, formerly known as the "Orlando Eye," opened in 2015. It's 400-feet tall and contains several air-conditioned gondolas that provide sweeping views of the entertainment district along International Drive, including of Walt Disney World's theme parks, Disney Springs, and Universal's theme parks.