High winds buffet riders at 2 San Diego theme parks

SAN DIEGO – Rides at two San Diego theme parks were buffeted by high winds Monday evening, frightening park guests who were on the rides.

The first incident happened at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park at about 4 p.m. Video shot by a local resident, Jordan Lapidot, shows the balloon basket being swept dangerously close to some trees. Woman and children were in the basket when the wind tossed it around.

“These adults and children were getting thrown all over and holding onto the sides of the cage like their life depended on it,” Lapidot said. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, someone is going to fly out of this thing.’"

No one was injured during the wild ride, and a spokeswoman for the Safari Park said the balloon did not hit any trees and was never out of control.

Several hours later, strong winds played havoc with the Bayside Skyride at SeaWorld on Mission Bay. The gondola ride malfunctioned Monday night after strong wind gusts hit the park around 6 p.m.  Just after 7 p.m., five cars automatically shut down - some over Mission Bay.

Sixteen people were trapped in the gondolas high above the ground and water, including a baby and partially paralyzed man. With no room for error, rescuers used extreme caution, lowering people slowly to a boat below. No one was injured, but several riders were trapped in the cold for nearly three hours.

SeaWorld issued a statement saying that the ride would not reopen until it is has been inspected and deemed safe.

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