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Riders stranded aboard Stratosphere at Texas State Fair

Just hours after "Big Tex" burned to the ground, the Stratosphere strands riders high above the Texas State Fair.

It just wasn't the State Fair of Texas' day.

About 11 hours after fair icon Big Tex went up in flames, one of the fair's tallest rides malfunctioned, stranding two dozen riders in the air for just more than two hours on Friday.

Riders in the Stratosphere's hanging seats were stuck dangling about 165 feet in air when the ride lost power at about 9:11 p.m.


Carol Stradtman, one of the stranded riders, told NBC 5 by phone that all of the lights went off and the ride just stopped.

"It's extremely scary," she said.

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The 24 riders were all on the ground by 11:20 p.m. Dallas Fire-Rescue said all of the occupants were safely removed from the ride after it was manually lowered.

Dallas police said fair officials provided the riders with blankets and refreshments once they were on the ground and that the fire department was on hand to provide any needed medical attention.

State Fair of Texas representatives said the Stratosphere would remain closed for the remainder of the fair's run.

This year's fair ends Sunday.

Power was restored to the ride by 10:50 p.m., but there appeared to be some issue that prevented the ride from immediately lowering its passengers.

Stradtman told NBC 5 that someone had climbed the center of the tower at about 9:40 p.m. and appeared to manually try to bring them down. She said a friend who was not on the ride said there was some kind of mechanical difficulty.

'Big Tex,' icon of Texas state fair, burns up

No injuries were reported, Dallas police said. Two Dallas Fire-Rescue technical rescue trucks were at the fair to help.

The Stratosphere, a 200-foot tall tower, turns and swings riders out over the fair.

Friday's woes are not the first for the Stratosphere.

The Dutch-made ride stalled at the Minnesota State Fair twice in as many days in August, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, as well as during the ride's debut in Wisconsin.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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