Monorail Strands Passengers Inside Dallas Zoo Exhibit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Passengers aboard a monorail through a Dallas Zoo exhibit were trapped after an electrical short. (Published Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011)

    Thirty people, including babies, are safe after a daring rescue at the Dallas Zoo on Tuesday.

    The monorail that carries passengers through a 20-minute tour of the Wilds of Africa exhibit stalled at about 3 p.m.

    "My first reaction was, 'Oh my God, look y'all. Come here. ... It was scary," said zoo patron Elizabeth Smith, who watched from the ground.

    "For me, it was scary -- I'm afraid of heights," said Yasmine Alcale, who was on the monorail with her 1-year-old godson.

    Zoo officials said an electrical short caused the monorail to stall, stranding passengers about 40 feet in the air.

    "All of a sudden, the train lurched and then stopped completely," said Stephen Rigell, of Wylie.

    He was on the monorail with his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 4.

    It took nearly two hours for zoo officials to come up with a plan to get everyone, including the babies, safely on the ground.

    "It took us a little while to figure out the logistics," said Gregg Hudson, the zoo's executive director. "[We] had to cut down some trees and to get up there, but it went as planned."

    Firefighters on ladders traveled from one rail car to the next, carrying the children down first before talking their parents down.

    "They carried him down and he was asleep," Alcale said of her grandson, Ethan. "They handed him back to me; he was still asleep, and he just woke up."

    Though the aerial adventure didn't seem to faze the children, their parents said they are thankful to the firefighters who rescued them.

    "Thank you so much," mother Jessica Tell said. "They were so kind and quick and swift. They protected my pride and joy; that's all I can ask for."

    All of the passengers were offered refunds for their zoo tickets.

    A zoo spokeswoman said she expects the monorail to be back up and running Wednesday.