"Slight technical hitch" traps 180 passengers inside world's tallest moving observation tower

A technical fault trapped 180 passengers inside the doughnut-shaped viewing pod of the i360 observation tower last night, leaving them suspended above Brighton's seafront for two hours.

The viewing pod on the Marks Barfield Architects-designed British Airways i360 tower became struck at around 5.30 pm last night during a private party.

“British Airways i360 experienced teething trouble last night which resulted in the pod stopping for a short time," said a spokesperson from Marks Barfield Architects.

Two fire engines from the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene last night.

"A slight technical hitch has caused the pod to halt. Our engineers are resolving the problem and expect it to be working normally soon," said British Airways at the time of the incident.

The attraction was repaired by engineers and reopened to the public this morning.

British Airways i360 tower by Marks Barfield Architects

The glass-and-steel viewing pod is intended to travel up and down a 162-metre-tall pole, which at just 3.9-metre-thick holds the Guinness World Record for the world's most slender tower.

The British Airways-sponsored attraction is also promoted as the world's tallest moving observation tower and offers visitors views up to 42 kilometres in all directions.

The i360's 18-metre-wide pod is 10 times bigger than the capsules of the London Eye – also designed by Marks Barfield Architects – and is intended to hold up to 200 people at a time.

British Airways i360 tower by Marks Barfield Architects

Marks Barfield Architects first drew up plans for the i360 in 2005, but the project stalled in 2008 as a result of the global financial crisis. It was revived in 2014 by the local council and majority-funded by a loan from the UK's debt management office.

Other projects by the southwest London firm include an elevated walkway through the trees of Kew Gardens and a proposed research centre for the Amazon Jungle feating a bulbous bamboo observation tower.