Pakistan authorities have deployed military personnel and helicopter squads in an attempt to save the eight people stuck onboard a cable car in the country’s northern region. The gondola is dangling some 274 metres above a ravine, after two of its cables snapped early on Tuesday.
High winds are reportedly hampering the rescue efforts.
Of those stranded on the chairlift are six children. They have been stranded since 7AM while using the gondola to get to school, when the cables snapped midway through its journey.
Footage emerges as rescue efforts continue to free six children and two adults trapped in Pakistan cable car
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— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 22, 2023
There is complete chaos on the scene
“For God’s sake help us,” a man named Gulfraz, who is stuck on the cable car, tells a local TV station by phone. He confirms that there are eight people onboard, reports CBS News.
A rescue mission is underway, but officials report that the chairlift is in too tricky of a position to be assisted from the ground. Military helicopters are now tasked with the rescue efforts, reports AFP.
The nerve-wracking situation has been further exacerbated by strong winds in the area, and the risk that the helicopter’s rotor blades could unsettle the lift.
The BBC says parents of the trapped children are at the scene. They cry beg the authorities to save their children. It further reports that there is complete chaos at the scene.
Locals have reportedly been using the chairlift for many years. In fact, cable cars are common ways for people to move between villages in the remote, mountain regions of Pakistan. The one in question is believed to be privately operated by residents.
Pakistan Army Aviation helicopter and Special Service Group (SSG) personnel begin rescue operation at #Battagram chair lift incident site
— Pakistan Armed Forces News 🇵🇰 (@PakistanFauj) August 22, 2023
People gamble travelling by cable car
Pakistan’s acting prime minister, Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said on X that he has directed the relevant authorities to investigate all such privately installed cable cars.
The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is really alarming. I have directed the NDMA, PDMA and district authorities to urgently ensure safe rescue and evacuation of the 8 people stuck in the chairlift.
I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such…
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 22, 2023
In 2017, a cable car installed by local residents broke and fell into a ravine, hundreds of feet below. DW says the incident killed 10 people.
This is a developing story.