ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Dozens of people were stuck on top of the Sandia’s for hours after taking the Tram to the top Sunday night. Roxanne Scheuer was one of the eager passengers Sunday night. However, her plans didn’t go as planned.
After only 10 minutes of exploring the top of the mountain, lightning forced her to run inside for safety. “It’s terrifying. It’s terrifying to feel like your options of getting down are so minimal,” said Scheuer.
A thunderstorm last night led to a power outage in the northeast heights. It knocked out power to the Tram, with 210 people, including visitors and employees, stuck at the top. “We took flight 30 last night at roughly 5:30, maybe 6 o’clock. Got to the top and immediately right off the bat he starts yelling ‘lighting’ and starts telling us to get indoors for your safety,” said Scheuer.
Scheuer went up with her family and says the lightning got bad up there. She said she was stuck at the top for over 7 hours. The Tram cars weren’t able to go up or down.
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Scheuer says after being up at the top for about 4 hours until shuttle busses brought some people back down to the city. Later, the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway could get the cars running again, but Scheuer says it was a scary 45-minute ride down. “It was kind of terrifying. We were just praying that I hope it doesn’t stop,” said Scheuer.
Many passengers weren’t prepared for the colder weather. Most didn’t have blankets or jackets with them. “Every time a lightning struck, and you heard it, people would get scared and gasp or feel terrified like what’s next,” said Scheuer.
She thinks the company could improve how they deal with these situations, including better employee training. “I just feel like if they were better equipped whether it meant they had snacks in the emergency of that or blankets like I had mentioned before or any number of those things to keep people better situated in that event. I feel like it could have gone a little bit better,” said Scheuer.
Scheuer says the company did provide water and snacks. The general manager of Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway told KRQE that circumstances were out of their control, and the company did all it could to make sure guests were out of harm’s way while working with the Public Service Company of New Mexico.
Sandia Peak did not offer the passengers refunds. According to PNM, the power outage in the northeast heights was caused by lightning damage to a power pole.