Pope Francis rescued by Vatican firefighters after getting stuck in elevator for 25 minutes

VATICAN CITY -- Where's the pope? He's stuck in a Vatican elevator.

Thousands of people who were gathered in St. Peter's Square for the traditional Sunday on-the-dot-of-noon appearance by Pope Francis were watching for the window of the Apostolic Palace to be thrown open so they could listen to the pope's remarks and receive his blessing. But after seven minutes, people were looking at each other quizzically: no pope?

Then Francis popped out and answered their question: "First of all I must excuse myself for being late. I was blocked in an elevator for 25 minutes."

Apparently referring to electrical power, Francis explained that there was a "drop in tension," causing the elevator to get stuck.

"Thank God the firefighters intervened," Francis said, referring to tiny Vatican City State's own fire department.

He then asked for a round of applause for his rescuers, and went ahead with his regular remarks and blessings, concluding with an announcement that he has chosen 13 churchmen to become the Church's newest cardinals.

The Vatican didn't say if the pope was alone in the elevator or accompanied by any of his aides.

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