The group on their way to school in Pakistan when one of the cable car's cables broke
Authorities in Pakistan said Tuesday that all eight people, including six children, have been rescued after they were trapped in a cable car dangling 900 feet above a ravine near the city of Battagram, Pakistan per multiple outlets including the Associated Press, CNN and The New York Times.
Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, made the announcement on X (formerly known as Twitter) about the operation’s success.
“Relieved to know that Alhamdolillah all the kids have been successfully and safely rescued,” he wrote. “Great team work by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people."
The group was en route to school around 9 a.m. local time in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, when one of the cable car's cables broke and left them stranded up in the air, per CNN, in an ordeal that lasted about 14 hours.
Army helicopters were involved in the rescue operation, and video footage showed a chopper hovering above the cable car to send food and water to the stranded passengers via a commando sliding down a rope, The New York Times reported.
High winds hampered the air rescue effort at one point, which forced the rescuers to use the one remaining working cable as a zipline from which they retrieved three children, The Guardian reported.
Footage also appeared to show a child hanging from the end of a rope attached to a helicopter as it flew to safety, per CNN.
Prior to the rescue, a 20-year-old passenger identified as Gulfaraz told Pakistan news outlet Geo News via phone that both cables broke, with the first cable breaking after the cable car crossed one mile. Gulfaraz urged authorities to help them as “people in our area are standing here and crying.” He said another passenger, a 16-year-old with a heart condition, had been unconscious for three hours.
The six children, according to Gulfaraz, ranged in age from 10 to 16, per Geo News.
"The school is located in a mountainous area and there are no safe crossings, so it's common to use the chairlift," according to headmaster Ali Asghar Khan, who said the children are students at his government high school Battangi Pashto, via AFP.
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In an earlier tweet, Kakar wrote that he “directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private cable car and ensure that they are safe to operate and use.”
Sarfraz Bugti, the country’s interior minister, also tweeted his response to the news of the rescue: “Thankful to Allah that the rescue process at Battagram has successfully concluded. All appreciation for our valiant armed forces personnel, administration & locals for their selflessness and determination in carrying out this complex operation.”
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