The Tower of the Americas, downtown San Antonio’s tall tourist attraction, reopened Friday morning, hours after elevator troubles trapped 16 people high above the ground.
“No reservations here,” said Jamey Peraza, visiting the site with family shortly after it opened for the day. “How many times does it go up and down and it doesn’t happen? So yeah, we’ll give it a try.”
While they had no fear in venturing onto the elevators, 16 people still are recovering from what had to be a harrowing experience.
The elevator stopped just shy of the top floor landing, trapping them more than 700 feet off the ground for about two hours.
San Antonio firefighters at the scene said they received the first call for help around 9 p.m. — about an hour after tower employees and patrons first became stuck.
According to Battalion Chief Armando Perez, the company that maintains the elevators in the tower, Otis Elevator, usually gets the first call for help.
"That's just standard procedure in a lot of buildings, that they're going to call their elevator company first,” he said. “And then if they don't come in a timely manner, then they give the fire department a call.”
Firefighters removed the last person from the elevator shortly before 10:30 p.m.
"I think the fire department should've been notified at the same time,” said David Butcher, a San Antonian strolling past the site. “There were a lot of people that dropped the ball on that one. Luckily, nothing serious happened."
Neither the management for the Tower of the Americas nor representatives with Otis Elevator responded to questions about the incident and the delay.
As of Friday morning, two elevators inside the building appeared to be in operation.
Two others, marked with signs above them reading, “Chart House,” were cordoned off.
It was unclear, however, which of those elevators was involved in stranding the people.