THE Star Flyer ride has re-opened today after safety checks were carried out following part of the attraction plunging 60 metres to the ground.
A spokesman for Edinburgh’s Christmas said the ride was re-opened at 5pm.
Witnesses told how a heavy undercarriage belonging to one of the seats on the St Andrew Square attraction crashed to the pavement below on Friday night – just metres from hundreds of unsuspecting onlookers.
It is understood the £7.50 fairground attraction – that stretches higher into the sky than most of the surrounding buildings – had been closed for maintenance earlier on Friday but had reopened to the public at around 5pm.
No injuries were reported but the ride – and the carriage that fell – were understood to be occupied when the incident occurred at around 9.30pm.
The ride is said to have been revolving at full tilt and was at its height when the base was tossed around 60 metres.
Laura Ritchie, 25, who was on a work’s Christmas night out, was standing just 20 feet away when the carriage fell.
“My friends had just literally got off it before it happened,” she said. “We were standing about 20 feet away deciding where to go next when we just heard this almighty thud.
“Luckily no-one was hurt because the crowd was not as big as it would usually have been but it was like the bottom of the seat – the covering or undercarriage – had come off and fallen.
“One of my friends had been sitting on that seat just seconds before.”
Ms Ritchie, who works at a major supermarket, said operators sprang into life and immediately shut the attraction down, bringing all the shocked passengers safely to the ground.
“There were people still in the seat that dismantled but the metal framework was still there with all the nuts and bolts showing.
“It had been right at the top when it came down.
“It landed right next to a couple of guys standing right underneath it. Security got people back fairly quickly but there were people right beside it when it landed.”
She added: “If it had come off and hit someone they would have died instantly because it was coming down from so high up.”
Onlookers were said to be in a state of shock, with many left “shaken up” by their ordeal.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, people took to Twitter to call for the ride – billed as the centrepiece of Edinburgh’s Christmas – to be closed permanently.
On the Edinburgh’s Christmas Facebook page, Wendy Crichton wrote: “It crashed to the ground a few feet from where me and my dad were standing. How was safety not jeopardised?”
A statement from Edinburgh’s Christmas said today: “Public safety is of paramount importance to Edinburgh’s Christmas and we apologise unreservedly for this incident.
“Detailed safety inspections were carried out on Saturday following the incident and the ride has been inspected to the satisfaction of an independent safety inspector and expert in amusement rides. The ride was also kept shut due to the gale force winds which hit Edinburgh on Saturday and which have been reported elsewhere.
“The incident is completely unrelated to the maintenance which was carried out on the ride earlier in the day on Friday 13th and which was part of the routine maintenance to the ride.”