It’s the Spinnaker all over again! Brighton’s i360 tower lift shut after technical problems

The British Airways i360 in Brighton. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The British Airways i360 in Brighton. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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Remember when the Spinnaker Tower’s panoramic lift broke down during its opening ceremony 12 years ago?

If you do, it’s likely you’ll be able to sympathise with visitors to Brighton at the moment.

The Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays. 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The 531ft-tall British Airways i360 attraction on the town’s seafront has been forced to shut after a series of technical problems.

Its operators have apologised following the closure on Sunday.

A statement said: ‘We are contacting customers who have pre-booked tickets and are offering them the opportunity to return within three months or claim a refund.

‘We would like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience this causes.’

Technicians work on the Spinnaker Tower's lift in October 2005. Picture: Michael Scaddan

Technicians work on the Spinnaker Tower's lift in October 2005. Picture: Michael Scaddan

The latest closure comes less than a month after the last incident, during which a damaged data cable caused passengers to be stuck for more than an hour.

The tower - dubbed a ‘vertical pier in the sky’ - broke down three times in five days in September after being plagued with a series of other faults.

On one occasion, a load imbalance caused 180 passengers to be stuck in the panoramic glass observation pod for more than two hours.

Its plight is likely to resonate with those in Portsmouth who have taken a trip up the Spinnaker Tower.

Five years after the lift - designed to offer spectacular views of the city as it rises up the tower - was opened in 2005, it remained shut to visitors.

Four weeks of tests were carried out in 2008 in a bid to get it open to the public.

The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the i360 last October.

Its futuristic-looking, curved, toughened glass pod enables visitors to ascend 450ft (137m) and get a 360-degree view across 26 miles of the south coast.

The structure, which was designed by the same team behind the London Eye, holds the Guinness World Record for the globe’s most slender tower with a diameter of 13ft (3.9m) at its widest point.