A family were left terrified when Storm Henk blew the roof hatch open on a London Eye pod they were riding in.
David Nock, 43, from Bournemouth, Dorset, and 11 family members, including five children, were 400 feet (122m) up on the attraction when a gust tore away a hatch at the top of the ride, exposing them “to the elements”.
The access hatch was left dangling by metal wires and making a crunching sound as the pod on the 1700-ton wheel rotated its way back down.
The family watched as the maintenance crew tried to fix the broken pod and described the whole experience as terrifying.
The tourist attraction was later closed “due to adverse weather conditions” as the storm brought disruption to swathes of the country.
Nearly 300 flood warnings were in place and the Met Office has issued a new weather warning for tomorrow for rain across most of the south of England
London Eye said the problem on Tuesday was an “isolated technical issue” and no parts of the pod detached from the main structure, but the wheel had closed for a brief period because of the weather.
Nock, an IT consultant, said that the children aged between 11 and 15 found the incident terrifying and described it as a harrowing experience.
“We were right at the top and there were very high winds and the service hatch on the pod got blown off.
“There were metal wires that hold it on and it was hanging on by those. We were stuck at the top for a good five minutes. The whole thing was stopping and starting and moving side to side.
“As the wheel moves, the pods rotate and as we were on the way down it was crunching so we called the emergency crew.
“The noise was quite deafening, it was a bit of a harrowing experience. The kids all found it terrifying.
“We had pre-booked it and actually moved it forward by an hour so we could get back. I think if we had gone on the one we were meant to, it would have been cancelled.”
‘Isolated technical issue’
The London Eye’s website says it is designed to operate safely in almost all conditions, but does occasionally close because of weather conditions. The attraction was shut in February 2022 when Storm Eunice battered the country with winds of up to 100 mph (161 kph).
A spokesperson for the London Eye said that following an “isolated technical issue”, they “immediately ensured that guests safely disembarked”.
They added: “Because of disruption from adverse weather conditions yesterday, we took the decision to close the London Eye for a brief period.
“We can confirm that no parts of the pod detached from the main structure and that no guests were injured.”