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8 passengers, including 6 children trapped on cable car in Pakistan

Rescue operations are underway for the passengers who have been trapped in the open chairlift since at least 8 am

HP: Cable car with 8 onboard stuck mid-air in Parwanoo, 4 rescued

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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A military rescue is underway in Pakistan where eight individuals are trapped in a cable car suspended over a ravine in the country's northwest region. The eight people included two adults and six children reportedly on their way to school in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province; when one of the cables snapped. This has left them suspended 274m (900 ft) above the ground, according to a report by the BBC.

"A chairlift stuck at a height of about 900 ft midway due to breakage in one of its cables in Battagram. 8 persons including 6 children stranded," the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan reportedly said in a statement.

The incident occurred at 7 to 8 am (media reports vary) on Tuesday across the Allai valley of the province.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Azam Khan took notice of the incident and immediately ordered helicopter rescue of the people stranded mid-air, according to a report by Dialogue Pakistan.

The eight passengers were stranded for at least four hours before the first helicopter arrived at the location.

The students on the open chairlift are reportedly 10-15 years old and were on their way to attend Government High School Battangi Pashto.

One of the men stuck on the cable car told Geo News, a Pakistani television channel, through a phone call, "For God's sake help us."

He also confirmed that eight people were on the cable car, adding that one of the students had fallen unconscious in the past three hours.

The man, named Gulfaraz, also informed the news network that the authorities were spreading nets beneath the car and that a notable crowd had gathered at the location.

Despite helicopters being on the scene, the rescue operations have become complicated due to gusty winds in the region. In addition, according to a report by Reuters, the helicopter's rotor blades could destabilise the chairlift even more.

According to a report by Wion, due to the absence of roads and bridges in the region, the cable car is used as a means of transport to cross the river. In this case, the cable car is privately operated by locals. This is apparently a common mode of transport in mountainous regions of north Pakistan.

Pakistan's acting Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq, also ordered the immediate rescue of the passengers. In a tweet on X (formerly Twitter), the acting PM stated, "The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is 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."

Speaking on the safety of the operation of private cable cars, he added, "I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private chairlifts and ensure that they are safe to operate and use."

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First Published: Aug 22 2023 | 5:17 PM IST

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