Minnesota Zoo monorail traps riders

A group of about 40 monorail riders were expecting a picturesque bird's eye view of the Minnesota Zoo's grizzly, musk ox and moose enclosures as they boarded a little after noon.

They didn't even get that far. Shortly after setting off on its route, the train mysteriously ground to a halt, trapping everyone inside, 18 feet in the air.

The train was not moving very fast when it stopped and their were no injuries. Although the lights and heat were still on inside, try as they might, zoo personnel could not get the car to start again. Finally, after passengers had been trapped for two hours, the Apple Valley Fire Department arrived and began bringing people down one at a time on 18-foot ladders.

"The guests seemed very calm," says zoo spokesperson Bill Von Bank, who watched the bizarre spectacle. "We certainly regret the incident."

He says the train stopped because of an electrical failure, though the cause is not yet known. The rest of the day's rides were canceled as technicians are trying to figure out the problem.

All 40 guests were refunded their admission and given free passes to return -- if they ever want to.

While we certainly don't envy anyone on-board with dozens of bored, cranky kids, it could have been worse -- in 2000 two monorails actually crashed. Hopefully, they broke into this old monorail shanty to pass the time:

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