Chair Lift Scare: Family shares how getting stuck on Gatlinburg attraction makes memorable story


GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – It was a day to remember for some who visited Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Tuesday.

Visitors reported that on Tuesday afternoon their chondola, which is the sky lift that brings a passenger to the main part of the theme park, stopped working. Several people were stuck mid-air for more than a half hour.

One of those passengers, Alicia, said she went to Anakeesta to have a fun day with her husband. That “fun day” didn’t end up so fun when they got stuck.

“When we left to come back down we just came down a very short pace down the mountain in the chair lift and it broke down,” she said.

Alicia is now happy to have two feet on the ground after spending several minutes up in the clouds on the sky lift.

She explained, “we sat there for 45 minutes in the sun and I called Anakeesta to find out what was going on with the chairlift if they were having some sort of difficulty that they could share with us, and I talked to a lady named Rose, and she told us that the censors were out in the chair lift.”

While waiting to be rescued, Alicia also made a call to her brother to tell him what was going on.

“She called me back and she said, ‘I’m trapped in the ski lift in Gatlinburg,’ so I started laughing,” giggled her brother, William Cisson.

Alicia however, didn’t find it so funny.

“We were literally dangling over a street, over trees, and over power lines,” she said. “So your imagination could run wild if you let it.”

Like a good brother does, Cisson kept in touch with his sister while she was stuck: “I kept texting her and asking her, ‘Are you still hanging out in Gatlinburg?'”

Cisson added, “my point of view it was funny but her point of view, not so funny.”

“Definitely a scary situation. Glad to be off,” Alicia said.

However, Cisson said it will make a good story for the next family get-together.

“We’re always cutting up with each other. My whole family’s that way,” he said.

A spokesperson for Anakeesta said several other people were on the lift at the time but were safely removed.

At this point they do not know the root cause, but mechanics are working on the issue.

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