Journalism students from Mill Creek High School visiting Washington, D.C., went from learning about the news industry to becoming the news when they were stranded at the top of the recently reopened Washington Monument and had to be evacuated by National Park Service rangers Wednesday afternoon.
The park service announced on Twitter that the monument had to be closed at 3:30 p.m. after the elevator stopped working, leaving the students stuck at the top. Park officials said visitors who were stuck at the top of the monument were evacuated through a staircase in the monument, which reopened in September after extensive repairs.
Several D.C.-area news outlets picked up the story and reported on the students’ predicament.
“Our journalism kids are in D.C.,” Mill Creek teacher Nora Neff said in a message to the Daily Post. “We got trapped on top of the Washington Monument. The rangers said that’s never happened. Local news is running our pics and video ... the ranger counted more than 40 of us. He said no one has ever had to use the stairs in (an) emergency. The power to the elevator went out.”
The National Park Service’s Twitter feed for the National Mall area, which includes the Washington and Lincoln monuments along with other sites along the mall, shows the elevators have been giving officials trouble lately. In fact, this is the second time in less than a week the monument has had to close because power to the elevators went out.
On Saturday morning, the park service announced on Twitter that the Washington Monument was closed for a couple of hours because of loss of power to the elevator controls.