SkyWheel's 1st go-round bit rough

The 187-foot-tall SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach has temporarily shut down twice since its debut Friday so that crews could work on the attraction.

The SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach hasn't had a smooth ride so far.

The 187-foot-tall Ferris wheel, which debuted Friday, has had to temporarily shut down twice during its first three days so crews could work on the attraction. Chris Trout, the SkyWheel's general manager, said the ride is safe, and that these glitches are ones that you would have with a new attraction.

'It's brand-new. We have not put many hours on it yet,' Trout said. 'It's an incredibly sophisticated machine.'

The latest glitch came about 9:15 p.m. Sunday when computers that make the wheel run weren't communicating, creating an error message that kept the wheel from turning, Trout said. Passengers were taken off the ride, and programmers were called in to fix it. The ride, on the oceanfront near Mr. Joe White Avenue, didn't reopen until about 2 p.m. Monday.

The roughly 50 customers in line Sunday night when the ride shut down were given extra tickets to return, Trout said. 'At no time was anyone's safety ever compromised,'' he said.

Crews have been tinkering with different aspects of the ride since it debuted Friday morning.

After the ribbon-cutting and about two hours of rides, the SkyWheel shut down from about noon to 5 p.m. Friday so crews could work on it, including tweaking the neon lights on the wheel's spokes because several weren't lighting.

Some of the first passengers Friday morning reported problems with the speakers in some of the ride's 42 gondolas, with some of them getting the same recorded instructions repeatedly, others hearing the same songs over and over during the 12-minute ride and others not hearing any recorded instructions or rock music, as they should.

Crews worked until the last minute getting the ride ready. Officials were still testing the ride Thursday night — hours before its Friday morning opening — using water-filled barrels to simulate the weight of passengers.

The ride received a permit from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation on Thursday night, agency spokeswoman Lesia Kudelka said. The SkyWheel operated normally Friday night and Saturday, Trout said.