I already had a bad feeling about the Stratosphere casino in Las Vegas. It’s a tower with a restaurant at the top, kind of like the Seattle Space Needle. But, the place feels old and rundown. Plus, to get to the top of the tower, you’ve got to walk a mile past their Dollar-Tree style stores and dodge people trying to sell you toy novelties like that spaceship hover balloon. I swore I’d never return to the Stratosphere.
I’m pretty sure there’s a group of tourists who are now making the same promise:
A power outage shut down rides atop the Stratosphere Tuesday night, leaving a group of Japanese tourists dangling more than 800 feet above the ground for about 90 minutes.
Electricity to the tower went out at 5:45 p.m. when a car hit a power transformer in the area, officials said. The tower went dark, and the rides that usually bounce, spin and teeter high above the Strip suddenly stopped.
The six stranded tourists were aboard the X-Scream ride. It’s the world’s third highest thrill ride at 866 feet, according to the hotel’s Web site. The ride “propels riders 27 feet over the edge of the Stratosphere Tower and dangles them over the Strip before pulling its riders back and over again for more!” the site says.
When the power went out, however, the ride didn’t pull the riders back, and the tourists were stuck hanging over the ledge of the tower as temperatures dropped into the 50s and winds gusted at about 10 mph. The ride remained stuck until power was restored about 7:15 p.m., said Mike Gilmartin, a Stratosphere spokesman.
He said the ride was designed with a manual override that allows workers to bring the X-Scream back to the observation deck in emergencies, but he could not explain why the tourists weren’t returned to safety until power came back on.
I’ve always looked at that ride and thought people were crazy to get on it. I have no desire to be dangled 800 feet in the air above Las Vegas — even for a few seconds. I can’t even fathom being up there for 90 minutes.
I’m sure those tourists couldn’t fathom that either. Three words for the Stratosphere: Big Cash Settlement.