January 1, 2019
It’s not the best way to spend New Year’s Eve, but it’s certainly an unforgettable one.
Eight French people have been rescued by helicopter after becoming trapped for eight hours atop a fair ride.
The revellers, one as young as 13, climbed aboard the 52-metre (171ft) BomberMaxxx in the Breton city of Rennes for a brief ride above the city.
But a new part broke on the attraction, and the firefighters’ ladders were too short to rescue the trapped group.
“We saw sparks, heard a big metal noise and feared the worst,” one woman told AFP news agency.
The owner of the ride, Alexandre Thiel, said the broken part blocked it and while there was no danger to those on board, “the only problem was getting them down”.
After several attempts to reach them from the ground, a helicopter arrived and one by one they were winched to safety.
The first was rescued just before midnight, with the last person reaching the ground at about 06:00 local time (05:00 GMT).
“I never thought I’d get out. It was very traumatic,” 23-year-old Antoine said. “It was long, it was cold and it was frightening.”
“Next year, I’m staying at home with my champagne and biscuits,” another man said.