Singapore Flyer still grounded pending probe; tour agencies told rides will resume 'after January'

Maintenance staff working inside the Singapore Flyer on Jan 25, 2018. Operations at the ferris wheel have remained suspended, as of Jan 28. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Flyer remains grounded on Sunday (Jan 28), after operations were suspended due to a "technical issue" on Thursday morning. It is not clear when the ride will reopen.

According to Straco Leisure, which owns the Singapore Flyer, a probe is ongoing and updates will be made through the attraction's online channels.

A tour agency says it has been told that the Flyer will reopen after Wednesday.

The Straits Times also understands that the process of selecting engineers to investigate the issue is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, brothers Altaaf Novriani, eight, and Aldyv, 10, from Jakarta were disappointed.

"They were expecting a good ride and are a bit disappointed," said their mother Venny, 38, as a tired Altaaf sat slumped on the ground.

Mrs Novriani, who works in the chemicals sector, added: "Luckily we haven't bought tickets online. But we have set aside time for this, and will be flying back to Jakarta this evening."

Semi-retired banker Val Banta, 72, and his wife Edna, 62, a gynaecologist, had flown in from the Philippines on Saturday on a trip to mark their 32nd wedding anniversary.

Staring wistfully at the skyline, he said: "We wish we were up there for the extraordinary experience. It is an iconic attraction."

It is understood that tour agencies have been told the ride will reopen after January.

City Tours, which runs guided tours here, said that it will refund customers the full price for their Singapore Flyer tickets. The ride is included in one of its packages.

Said one of its employees, who requested to be known only as L.G.: "Of course we will refund customers, as it is not their fault."

He added the Singapore Flyer had told tour agencies that the closure will be until Wednesday.

Last Thursday, 61 passengers on board the Flyer were "brought to ground safely" at 9am.

When asked about the closure by ST on Sunday, Ms Veronique Ye, Straco Leisure's director of marketing and sales, said the tourist attraction will be suspended until "investigations are complete and till we are given the go-ahead by the relevant authorities".

"Affected customers and partners were informed about the closure and we are making necessary arrangement for them," she added.

Straco Lesiure, a subsidiary of Straco Corporation, bought the Singapore Flyer in 2014 for $140 million. This was after Singapore Flyer Pte Ltd, the company behind the ferris wheel, went bankrupt.

Straco, a local company, owns other projects around the world, such as the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, which attracts more than a million visitors each year.

Singapore Flyer also said that it has informed affected customers who made prior bookings to contact its customer service at 6333-3311 for assistance. It will also give updates on its official website and Facebook page.

This is not the longest duration that the ride has been suspended.

It was shut down for about a month after a fire broke out in the wheel control room in December 2008. The incident caused 173 passengers to be trapped for about six hours.

In July 2010, the Flyer was shut down and more than 200 were evacuated after lightning struck one of the electrical cables that supplied power to the air-conditioning systems. The ride reopened two days later.

On its website, it is also stated that the ride will be suspended when wind speeds exceed 10 metres per second.

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