By Chen Jingting
IT WAS his first time at the iconic Singapore attraction.
Mr C. K. Loke, a senior manager with an aviation company, was at the Singapore Flyer with his family on Saturday night.
Wanting to see the "beautiful scenery" from the top of the Flyer, the 41-year-old was confident of the safety features of the contraption.
He told my paper: "There were previous incidents of the wheel being stuck, but we should give the Flyer management a chance to improve their system."
Last December, the largest observation wheel in the world suddenly stopped moving, leaving 173 passengers trapped in its capsules for about six hours.
The ride was shut down for safety reasons after power to one of the wheel's drive units was cut off because of an electrical fire. It was reopened in January.
Since then, the crowds have returned, albeit slowly.
A Flyer spokesman told my paper that the numbers of visitors have been "robust" since January, but declined to reveal the figures.
Still, in just three weekends in February, over 10,000 people showed up. On April 9 alone - the Flyer's first anniversary - about 3,500 visitors turned up for the launch of the President's Challenge 2009.
She added that 'enhancements' to the safety system had been made to ensure greater passenger safety.
Mr Loke's sentiments were similar to those of Singaporean and foreign visitors. Most were confident that the latest incident would not happen to them.
Canadian tourist Anna Neufeld, 56, said: "I wasn't worried although the capsule was jerking for about two minutes when it was near the top."
Student Germaine Chan saw no reason why people should avoid the Flyer. "Roller-coaster accidents happen sometimes, but that doesn't mean that we should not take such rides again," said the 18-year-old.
Filipino tourist Pablo Ilano, 49, said: "I'm sure the management has fixed the problem. It's most likely safer now than before."
However, tenants are not seeing much improvement in business.
Retailer of exotic leather products Nankai said that human traffic had improved, but few were willing to spend, probably because of the trying economic conditions.
Still, some retailers, such as Sunglass Hut, are hopeful that business will improve with the opening of an MRT station nearby next year, which will make the Flyer more accessible.
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