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Oklahoma Family Trapped Inside Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is up and running again after a power outage over the weekend. A Claremore family won't forget their weekend getaway to St. Louis anytime soon. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports they were among the unlucky visitors trapped inside the arch when the landmark lost power.

When the arch in St. Louis lost power Saturday night, it trapped about 200 people inside, including Eli and Sonya Lawson and their children.

At first, the Lawsons didn't know what was happening. They feared the worst.

"With 9/11 and everything happening and our security, everything goes through your mind,” Sonya Lawson said.

Turns out, one of the nine cables pulling a tram failed, hit an electrified rail and caused a fuse to blow.

"To me it was almost like a movie playing out before your eyes because you're sitting there watching all the different people. Some women were crying and the husbands were trying to console them, the children kept asking their mothers can I go down, can I go to the bathroom, can I do this,” Eli Lawson said.

They were stuck in the arch for about three hours. Thirteen-year-old Brooks Lawson thought it was cool at first, boring after a while, and a little unnerving after learning they would have to climb part of the way down. Little sister Presley Lawson took a nap.

"It was a little scary, but I was alright. I just decided to sleep,” Presley Lawson said.

The family eventually got down from the arch by taking about 300 feet of stairs, and then a ride on a freight elevator the rest of the way. They were given free passes to visit again. Eli Lawson and the kids say they'll do it. Sonya Lawson says no way.

"I'll go to the arch, but I'll go to the base of the arch. I won't go back up,” she said. “You couldn't pay me enough. I don't care if there is a million dollars waiting for me up there. I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't."

The family says the park ranger in charge in the arch did a great job during the emergency. But they hope other improvements are made, including better communication, improved emergency lighting and emergency food, water and medicine on hand.

Watch the video: Local Family Recounts Harrowing Experience Inside The Gateway Arch
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