Coastguard helicopter helps rescue 13 people trapped in Weymouth tower gondola

An operation is under way to rescue 13 people who are trapped in the gondola of the Jurassic Skyline tower in Weymouth.

Video footage shows people being winched to safety from the Festival Pier attraction by a Coastguard helicopter.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the scene just after 4.10pm on Tuesday afternoon after engineers' efforts to free the stuck gondola failed.

Firefighters ascended the tower to provide support and reassurance to 11 members of the public and two staff, the service said in a statement.

It said most rescue options were discounted on the grounds of safety due to the inclement weather, adding: "At approximately 7.30pm, the Coastguard helicopter started to winch those trapped to safety.

"Arrangements have been made to provide them with a safe place to rest and recover once returned to the ground."

The 53m (174ft) tower gives 360-degree views of the coastline.

Jurassic Skyline's operator said on Twitter it came to a halt during descent because of a "mechanical issue".

A later tweet posted during the rescue operation said: "We hope to have everyone back on ground soon."

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