Pakistan: 2 children rescued from dangling cable car; aerial rescue ops suspended for the night

Efforts continuing to rescue six others trapped in cable car

Pakistan cable car accident In this image taken from video, a cable car carrying six children and two adults dangles hundreds of meters above the ground in the remote Battagram district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan | AP

In an aerial operation, the Pakistan Army rescued two of the eight persons who got trapped in a cable car after its wires snapped in Allai tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Battagram region on Tuesday. Aerial operations have been suspended for the night and rescue efforts through other means are continuing, reports said. 

According to reports, the army rescued two children from the cable car in an operation involving four helicopters. Six people still remain inside the cable car dangling thousands of feet in the air above a ravine, Dawn reported. 

According to Rescue 1122, the rescue operation by the special forces of the Pakistan Army is underway to save the rest of the people trapped in the dangling chairlift, Geo News reported.

The children were headed to school when the incident occurred at around 8am in Battagram.

According to Allai tehsil chairperson Mufti Gulamullah, the chairlift was privately run by locals for transportation across the river as there were no roads or bridges in the area, the Express Tribune newspaper reported. 

Dawn reported food is being delivered to the trapped persons using a small chairlift dolly. 

According to reports, helicopters of Pakistan Army Aviation and Pakistan Air Force are participating in the rescue operation along with the Special Services Group (SSG) troops. Authorities have decided to continue the rescue operation from the ground with the help of the Pakistan Army so that the operation may be continued even in the dark of night.

Rescue workers on the ground began the process of laying down nets to prepare for any mishaps, the report said.

The rescue mission is complicated due to gusty winds in the area and the fact the helicopter's rotor blades risk further destabilising the lift, Dawn reported. 

The chairlift is dangling in the middle of a deep ravine surrounded by towering mountains and a rocky surface, along with the Jhangri river beneath it.

The local administration along with Rescue 1122 teams were present at the spot, but due to the height and the hilly terrain, it was not possible for rescue officials to carry out a relief operation, the report quoted Assistant Commissioner Jawad Hussain as saying.

Gulfaraz, one of the trapped persons told Geo News said the first wire broke at 7am while another cable broke down soon after. The passengers have been waiting for help since early morning, he said.

Meanwhile, directing authorities to rescue all the people stuck in the chairlift, Interim Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar asked the national and provincial disaster management authorities to utilise all the available resources and issued directives to ensure safety measures for cable cars in the hilly areas.

"The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is really alarming," he tweeted. According to a local school teacher, Zafar Iqbal, at least 150 students take the hazardous journey to school by cable car every day due to the lack of road facilities in the area, the Dawn newspaper reported. 

(With PTI inputs.)


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