N.Y. cable cars stuck in air with dozens aboard

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two cable cars carrying dozens of people over a river were left hanging for hours Tuesday when the cable system lost power because of a mechanical problem.

Both cars of the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which shuttles commuters and tourists between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island while offering breathtaking views of the city from up to 250 feet high, stopped moving around 5:15 p.m., stranding about 80 people, said Herb Berman, president of the agency that operates the system. The tram cars still were stalled after 7 p.m. while engineers worked to restore power, he said.

One of the tram cars had about 50 people, the other about 30. No injuries were reported.

The tram system, which opened in 1976 to carry Roosevelt Island residents to and from midtown Manhattan, is the only commuter cable car system in North America, according to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. Web site. It has been featured in movies such as "Spider-Man" and "City Slickers."

It travels 3,100 feet at an average speed of 16 mph in around 5 minutes and has served more than 20 million people, the RIOC site says.

Tram cars on the system stall occasionally, the last time around Labor Day, said Berman, who didn't know the cause of Tuesday's service outage.

Roosevelt Island, which sits in the East River between Manhattan and Queens and is part of the former, is about 2 miles long and about 800 feet wide. About 10,000 people live on the island, which also is accessible by bridge and subway.