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Thursday, July 10, 2008


When I was a child, every year on my father's vacation we would make the two bus trek to the Bronx Zoo. It was always a fun outing. I enjoyed visiting the African Plains even though the lions were not in a cage. They were, however, separateed by a field and two brick walls. It seemed safe enough. There were other animals that I enjoyed too, lions, tigers and bears, oh my.

I was reminded of this last night when I heard about the Skyfari ride getting stuck and trapping dozens of people in the air for about five hours. They didn't have this ride when I was a child, and I doubt if I would have taken it since heights bother me.

This ride goes all over the park and in some places it's over the baboons, tigers, gazelles and other critters. Most of the people who were rescued said they were not frightened and were sure they would be rescued. While they were stranded, just hanging there the police and fire departments were watching the weather for signs of another thunderstorm.

Eventually members of the FDNY Rescue 3 and the NYPD Emergency Services Unit used a special bucket equipped crane brought in from Queens to take the riders off the car which had gone off line. While they were being taken off the car, they were snapping pictures of their rescuers.

Once that car was empty, they worked on realigning it so they could get the ride moving and the rest of the people off. Police said no one was injured, but a pregnant woman who began having cramps and another woman who had trouble breathing were taken to the hospital for checkups.

I guess most of the people on the ride were native New Yorkers because they seemed to take it in stride, some even said it was a little boring. There was no panic.

At a news conference attended by the Police Commissioner and other officials, John Calvelli, senior vice president of public affairs at the zoo, apologized to the tired and hungry visitors saying, "We are heartily sorry for the ordeal". I also heard on the TV news that they all got a free taxi ride home. What sports.

Area residents also rushed to the scene to watch the drama. I also heard that someone was using binoculars from home to catch the goings on.

No I know why I don't like to ride trams.

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