Ferris Wheel Spins Out Of Control At New York Firefighters' Fund Raiser

PHOENICIA, N.Y. (AP) -- A Ferris wheel at an Ulster County fire department fund-raiser spun out of control after a cable snapped, coming to a halt only after nearly two dozen firefighters at the fair grabbed the wheel and brought it under control, police said.

None of the seven passengers were hurt, but several children were temporarily stranded in suspended cars and the ride's operator suffered a minor arm injury, said Officer Thomas O'Connell of the Town of Shandaken police.

The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Parish Field in Phoenicia, where a fundraiser for the Phoenicia Fire Department was being held, police said.

After the cable snapped, the ride's operator tried to use the hand brake to stop the wheel from spinning. But it continued to speed up, police said.

``It was really scary _ it looked like a roulette wheel when you spin it. I'm surprised nobody got thrown off,'' O'Connell said.

Twenty firefighters swarmed the ride, stopping it and freeing two adult riders from the bottom car. Five children were stranded in upper cars until firefighters used a ladder truck to free them.

``It was lucky (the firefighters) were right there,'' O'Connell said.

No criminal charges would be filed against the ride's owner, Shamrock Shows, because no one was seriously hurt, he said.