People riding the sky car at Durban’s new Moses Mabhida stadium were left stranded again when the device broke down earlier this month. This after evacuation Safety measures, promised by authorities after the car broke down last week, had not been implemented.
Intended to help keep the stadium’s tills ringing after the World Cup, the joy ride is fast turning into a liability for the city, with visitors regularly stranded atop the 105m arch without medical supplies, water or an adequate evacuation plan.
Stadium management admitted last week that the sky car had failed to operate on several occasions since its launch in November. They promised that staff would be trained in the security measures to be adopted in the event of a breakdown and that harnesses, sunshades and water would be kept on the viewing deck.
However, those measures had not been implemented when the vehicle ground to a halt on two occasions at the weekend, according to people who rode to the top of the arch.
Now, Department of Labour inspectors will visit the stadium to “take a look at the overall working of the sky car”.
Provincial Department of Labour spokesperson Jay Anand said that inspectors have been instructed to determine if the sky car is safe and if it is operated in compliance with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The investigation comes after reports that sky car staff are not trained in the management of crisis situations.
It is also unclear whether the venue has public liability insurance to cover injuries and deaths resulting from use of the sky car.
A woman who was trapped at the top of the arch for more than two hours on Sunday collapsed while making her way down.
Anand said the inspectors will pay special attention to disclaimers on signage at the entrance of the ride. Visitors are warned that they use the sky car at their own risk and that the city will not be liable for damages, injuries or loss.
“The venue must take some responsibility for Safety procedures. This will be looked at and the department will issue its findings as soon as the inspection is over,” Anand said.
In another incident, a man also had to carry a one-year-old child on the down climb. “There is no handrail and the sides are not very high. This man was carrying his child, who wasn’t harnessed.
Despite the impending inspection and questions about safety, the sky car was in operation during the long-weekend.
Sources: The Mercury & The Times