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News

Wyatt's 'terrifying experience' on cable car going up Table mountain

Power issues caused the cable car she was on 'to drop a little bit and swing'

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
23-Feb-2023
England are targeting a calm performance in their Women's T20 World Cup semi-final against South Africa on Friday, but opening batter Danni Wyatt's nerves were frayed in the lead-up during an incident involving a cable car she was travelling in down Table Mountain.
Wyatt revealed during a pre-match press conference in Cape Town on Thursday that a cable car she was travelling in while descending the peak on Wednesday afternoon "decided to drop a little bit and swung".
Members of the England Women's team were queuing for the cable cars, which transport visitors up and down the 1,086m mountain, when they saw one stop on its way up, which Wyatt said had made her "nervous". It was shortly after Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley had boarded a car to descend that the incident occurred, stemming from a technical problem with a hydraulic back-up motor used to operate the cars when power to the usual electric motor is cut during load shedding. South Africa has been increasingly hit by load shedding, where the power supply is rationed to different areas throughout the day and night because demand outweighs capacity.
"Going back down yesterday, there were a few technical issues that made me very nervous before we boarded the cable car," Wyatt said. "And then it decided to drop a little bit and swung. It was a very terrifying experience. I don't think I'll be going up that mountain again anytime soon."
Wyatt said it wasn't her first visit to Table Mountain, having been there "about seven years ago" but the incident on her latest visit had put her off returning.
"I think that'll be the last time," she said. "I'm not going on that cable car ever again. It's the load shedding, once the electricity goes, that's it. Staying away from it. I'll take the stairs."
Asked if she screamed, Wyatt replied: "Yes, I did. I think everyone did. Well, literally everyone. A lot of people were shaking."
Wahida Parker, managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, said: "Table Mountain Cableway Company uses a hydraulic back-up motor during load shedding that replaces the electric motor that operates our cars and their movement. This motor experienced a technical problem on Wednesday, which caused our cars to get stuck on the line.
"We adopted two approaches simultaneously to resolve the problem. Our technicians worked to find the fault so that we could get moving as soon as possible, while at the same time, we contacted the City of Cape Town to ask that the power to our area be restored so that we could bring our passengers down safely and quickly.
"We pride ourselves on providing visitors with a positive and enjoyable experience, and what happened on Wednesday is not what we aim for. We sincerely regret the experience that passengers had who were stuck in our cars. We are happy to confirm that all the passengers safely reached the upper and lower stations."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo