A mum and dad and their three young children were left stranded at the top of a Ferris wheel when a theme park closed for the night.
The young family were left 'traumatised' when they became stuck more than 50ft in the air on the Big Wheel ride at Adventure Island in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
Staff had begun to shut down the park - unaware the family were stranded in the top carriage as they turned the lights off and prepared to close for the night.
Darren Riggs-Long, his wife Lynzie and their kids Kieran, 10, Lewis, six, and three-year-old Jack, were terrified.
Darren, 38, said: "We couldn't believe it. We were at the top of the wheel when the lights went out and staff started shutting the lights down on all the rides just before 10pm.
"It was cold and really dark."
He said they feared they would be stuck in the Ferris wheel cage for the whole night, and their children have had nightmares about the incident.
Staff eventually returned to free the family after a member of the public heard their desperate screams.
Darren said: "We were calling out for about 15 minutes before a member of the public spotted us. The attendant came back and switched the lights back on and got us down.
"The children are traumatised. Lewis woke up in the night crying and Kieran woke up shouting 'get me down'."
The family had planned to stay in Southend-on-Sea for a four-day break but cut their summer holiday short following their ordeal.
Theme park bosses have apologised to the family - blaming an inexperienced member of staff for the serious blunder.