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Durban 'sky car' grounded

2010-03-26 09:12

Durban - The "sky car" that carries visitors to the top of the 106-metre arch over Durban's new Moses Mabhida Soccer World Cup stadium has been grounded for safety checks, local officials said on Friday.

The decision to review the sky car's safety mechanism, less than three months before the tournament's June 11 kick-off, came after about 150 people were stuck on the arch when the automated emergency stop kicked in, the city's World Cup organisers said in a statement.

Government inspectors have declared the sky car safe, it said, but the stadium's management wants to review the safety procedures for a few days to reduce the number of unexpected stops.

"The sky car is programmed to stop should there be any possibility of a technical problem. Ironically it is this safety mechanism that creates the perception that the sky car is not safe," the statement said.

"We are committed to reduce the occurrence of inconvenient stoppages of the sky car as well as the downtime to attend to these," it said.

Some visitors have been stuck for up to two hours due to the emergency stop system. Local media reported that a 63-year-old woman collapsed while trying to walk down the 550 steps to the ground.

About 60 000 visitors have taken the ride to the viewing platform at the top of the arch, which offers 360-degree views over the city's beaches and a bungee jump over the field.

The view from Durban's Moses Mabhida "sky car"... when it works (Kim Drennan)

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