Big wheel’s builder in Singapore as police probe breakdown

December 27, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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AFP

The chairman of the company that built the world’s biggest observation wheel arrived in Singapore Friday as police investigated a disruption that trapped scores of people on board.

Florian Bollen, the Britain-based chairman of Great Wheel Corp, confirmed his arrival when contacted by telephone by AFP but declining any further comment.

Singapore police are investigating after officials at the Singapore Flyer said a small fire caused the wheel to stop turning for more than six hours Tuesday night while 173 people were on board.

Most were stuck inside the Flyer’s enclosed cabins until power was restored but 10 escaped using rescue harnesses. Two were taken to hospital, officials said.

“Police investigations would cover how this problem occurred, how it can be prevented and what measures the operator can put in place to enhance passenger safety,” police said in a statement Thursday.

They said the Flyer would be allowed to resume operations only once it had been certified as safe by an internationally recognised body that assesses safety standards for amusement rides.

The Flyer remained shut Friday.

Steven Yeo, general manager of the attraction, said earlier that Tuesday’s incident was the fourth and most serious stoppage at the Flyer, which opened in February.

Great Wheel Corp, which is based on Singapore, says it is also building observation wheels in Beijing, Berlin and Orlando.

The 42-storey Singapore Flyer is 165 metres (545 feet) high, 30 metres taller than Britain’s London Eye, the company said.

http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/afp/20081226/tap-singapore-tourism-wheel-06f3cb7.html