Ocean Park will shut down its helium balloon ride, Skystar, for good, after a barely discernible defect was found during routine inspection. The flaw later was identified as the cause of a mishap on the attraction that injured five people two months ago.
On June 28, the three-year-old French-manufactured helium balloon plunged 20 meters to the ground, after springing a leak. Four people in the balloon were hurt.
One on ground was also injured, after the balloon drifted from its intended landing spot. Seven park visitors and the operator were in the ride when the balloon failed.
“The park will not continue with the Skystar attraction and plans to develop the current space into a venue for events and exhibitions to complement the park’s long term developments,” announced the park’s Chairman Allan Zeman on Thursday.
Ocean Park’s decision on Thursday came on the same day a report was released by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
The report revealed that small areas of separation in the material of the balloon envelope caused by thermal and cycling operations had been detected. “As a result, helium gas leaked from the opening and caused this incident.”
“Their report confirmed that Ocean Park had already fully complied with the manufacturer’s routine inspection and maintenance schedule and procedures, and that the park’s operation, maintenance, and cleaning of the balloon are ruled out as causes of the incident,” said an Ocean Park spokesman.
Meanwhile, the park also has contracted an American ride safety consultancy firm, PLH Consulting, to conduct an independent investigation on the Skystar incident.
You may contact the writers through firstname.lastname@example.org