MENDON, MASS. (WHDH) — First responders were able to rescue dozens of passengers who were hung over animal exhibits after a parachute at the Southwick Zoo broke down, the zoo said on Friday.
While the zoo says they were able to immediately rescue about half of the riders before local firefighters arrived, the 19 passengers were in the air for almost two hours before they were successfully lowered to the ground in cherry pickers. From the moment the rescuers arrived at the scene, the rescue operation took about 30 minutes.
Russ Carter, who visited the zoo with his grandson, said the incident was not as bad as it could have been.
“We were there for over an hour,” Carter said. “People came, clients came up and poured water on us. the people who worked here came and kind of made sure we felt at ease.”
Various savannah animals could be seen, including zebras, ostriches, and water buffaloes, loitering around the exhibit under the feet of passengers.
Despite the dangerous situation, Carter’s grandson, Sebastian Dildan-Cottrell, said he did his best to keep up his courage.
“I was really sure. I tried not to be afraid,” Dildan-Cottrell said. “I was really good at not being afraid.”
According to the zoo, the cause of the malfunction was an oil leak.
There are no reports of injuries.
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