Pakistan cable car incident: Rescue under way for eight people trapped

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Video shows the stranded cable carIMAGE SOURCE,AFP

A rescue is under way for eight people, including six children, trapped in a cable car over a ravine in Pakistan’s north-west.

The group were on their way to school when one of the cables snapped, leaving it hanging 274m (900 ft) above ground, officials said.

Pakistan’s acting PM has ordered rescuers to attend to the “alarming” incident in Battagram.

Army helicopters have reached the car but the rescue’s status is unclear.

The eight passengers were trapped for at least four hours before the first helicopter arrived, local media outlet Dawn.com reported.

The incident happened at about 07:00 local time (02:00 GMT) on Tuesday in the remote, mountainous region where cable cars are common connectors for residents to get around.

“For God’s sake help us,” Gulfraz, a man stuck in the cable car, told Pakistan television channel Geo News by phone. He confirmed eight people were on board.

One of the students had fallen unconscious in the past three hours, he said, adding that students on board were aged between 10 and 15 years old.

“People in our area are standing here and crying,” Gulfaraz said, urging authorities to send immediate help.

According to images online, the cable car is stranded in the middle of a deep ravine in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Even with helicopters on site, the rescue mission is proving complicated due to gusty winds and concerns that the helicopter’s rotor blades could further destabilise the chair lift, a rescue official at the site told Reuters.

One helicopter has already come back from a surveillance trip while another would be sent shortly, he added.

A local teacher told Dawn.com that about 150 people take the hazardous journey to school by cable car daily because of a lack of transport options in the area.

Pakistan’s acting prime minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said on X (formerly Twitter) that he has directed the relevant authorities to inspect all such privately-operated chairlifts to ensure that they are safe for use.

“The chairlift accident in Battagram is really alarming,” he said.

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