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Firefighter Among Those Trapped In Ferris Wheel

Firefighter Among Those Trapped In Ferris Wheel

Racine, Wis. firefighters rescue riders, including twins Tanya and Nicole Wagenaar, 7 from a Ferris wheel which became stuck in downtown Racine during a street festival, Saturday October 2, 2010. No injuries were reported. About a dozen people were stuck

Atlanta Journal Constitution via YellowBrix

October 05, 2010

RACINE – It was a terrifying situation for more than a dozen children: being trapped on a Ferris wheel for three hours. Luckily, one of the people trapped with them was an off-duty firefighter.

Capt. Nick Comande of the Racine Fire Department was riding the Ferris wheel at Racine’s Party on the Pavement festival with his 9-year-old daughter Rachel. He had no idea that they and 15 others would be trapped in a life-threatening situation. A bolt on the Ferris wheel came loose in the middle of the ride.

“I saw the bolt slide out, and I felt the thing drop, and I thought we were going to go over at that point. I was just grateful we only dropped a foot or so,” Comande said.

It took three hours for firefighters to pull all the riders to safety. No one was hurt. Comande, trapped on the ride, tried to help by keeping the frightened children calm.

“I just keep telling them that everything’s going to be OK, and that we’re going to be stuck here for a little while and we had lots of people coming to help get us out of here,” said Comande.


Racine firefighter Pvt. Andrew Stein works to steady the Ferris wheel before he and colleagues rescue riders from a Ferris wheel which became stuck in downtown Racine during a street festival, Saturday October 2, 2010. [AP]

But Comande didn’t tell the children he thought the Ferris wheel was close to tipping over in the strong winds.

“If the wind had been out of the east instead of off the lake, hitting us straight on out of the north, I was very fearful that it would have tipped over,” Comande said.

Comande credits the Racine Fire Department for getting everyone off safely with no injuries.

The Ferris wheel has been confiscated by the Racine Police Department. State inspectors are trying to determine what caused the accident.

The operators of the ride claim on their website that they inspect their rides several times a week.

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