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Nebraska State Fair Production Department members Paul Jonas (left) and Gary Paul attach speaker wires to speakers on top of the Sky Tram ride at the fairgrounds in Grand Island. The State Fair opens Friday. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

GRAND ISLAND — About 45 people were stranded 40 feet above the State Fair grounds for an hour Sunday night until they were rescued from the stalled tram ride.

On Monday, the final day of the fair, technicians with the tram’s owner, Wade Shows, still were attempting to pinpoint the reason that the ride stalled around 9 p.m. Sunday.

Ed LaSalle, the State Fair’s safety consultant from Berryburg, Pa., said there was an issue with the tram’s hydraulic drive system and that “nothing happened to the ride itself.”

LaSalle said he witnessed the rescue operation in which two high-reach devices were extended up to the tram cars and riders then were off-loaded and taken to the ground. The high-reach devices have fenced platforms. Two State Fair personnel went up each time the equipment was extended to rescue riders.

There was no danger of anyone falling. It’s just the drive system that wasn’t functioning, LaSalle said. He said the rescue operation lasted about an hour and none of the riders seemed upset when they reached the ground.

“Everybody seemed to be fine. The process went very well. They were efficient and did everything safely,” LaSalle said.

Linda Lovgren, who is in charge of public relations for the State Fair, issued a statement at 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the tram stalled.

The statement read: “This is to advise you that the Sky Tram at the Nebraska State Fair has experienced a stoppage of operation.

“Safety is the top priority for the Fair and the Wade Shows. The Wade Show personnel have put a plan into action that will disembark all of the passengers on board. This effort is under way at this time.”

LaSalle said Monday that Wade employees were working on the tram. However, it wasn’t in operation on the last day of the fair.

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