TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nine tourists were rescued from Lovers' Tower, located in Tamsui District and owned by Fullon Hotel, after being trapped on the top of the 69-meter-tall tower for nine hours, according to the New Taipei City Fire Department yesterday.
The fire department said that the company in charge of the operation of Lover's Tower made an emergency call at around 1:55 a.m. saying that the machine controlling the tower broke down due to strong winds and could not be fixed after workers spent five hours trying to repair it.
According to the fire department, 52 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, and six women and three men trapped inside the tower were rescued safely.
The tourists who were rescued by police and firefighters appreciated the help of the rescue team, according to the fire department, but they were not satisfied with the hotel and the maintenance workers' ability to handle the crisis.
Lin Shao-hsiung, the assistant manager of Fullon Hotel, said that a regular maintenance inspection was conducted yesterday morning.
"It was unbelievable that a malfunction would take place right after the inspection was done," said Lin.
According to Lin, it was the first breakdown of the Lover's Tower since it first entered operation over two years ago.
"The top cabin of the Lover's Tower could not lower to the ground due to constant strong winds last night, and for the safety of the tourists, the hotel decided to ask the fire department to help bring the tourists down," said Lin.
According to the hotel, Lover's Tower is 100 meters tall and has a capacity of 80 people. The tower, which cost over NT$300 million to construct, provides 360-degree views for tourists who visit its highest level.
Operation put on halt: Authority
The New Taipei City Government yesterday demanded that the hotel temporarily stop the operation of Lover's Tower before the authorities can confirm the safety of the contraption.
New Taipei City's Public Works Department yesterday said that hotel maintenance workers did not follow standard procedure in responding to the mechanical breakdown, a primary factor in the nine tourists' nine-hour ordeal.
The department said that the hotel was requested to stop the operation of Lover's Tower until a standard plan for emergency procedures is proposed in order to avoid the occurrence of a similar accident in future.