Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Pakistani rescue teams managed to bring seven children and a man to safety after the cable car they were traveling in became stuck over a remote ravine on Tuesday (22/8/2023). Rescue efforts lasted for more than 15 hours.
“It was a unique rescue operation that required a lot of skill,” the military said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters, Wednesday (23/8/2023).
The high-risk operation in northern Pakistan was completed under cover of night. The cable car snagging incident occurred early in the morning causing the train to hang in an inclined position all day.
Chronology of cable car incidents
One of the cable lines carrying the cable car broke at around 7 a.m. local time while the students were on their way to school in the mountainous area of Battagram, about 200 km north of Islamabad, officials said.
The cable car got stuck in the middle of a ravine, about 275 meters above the ground, Shariq Riaz Khattak, a rescue worker at the site, told Reuters.
The helicopter rescue mission was complicated due to strong winds in the area. In addition, the helicopter blades risk further destabilizing the cable car.
“Our situation is critical, for God’s sake, do something,” Gulfaraz, a 20-year-old cable car passenger, told a local television channel. GeoNews by phone.
He said the children trapped over the cliff were aged 10 to 15 and one of them fainted from the heat and fear.
A video shared by officials at the rescue agency shows dozens of teams as well as local residents lining up near the edge of a dark ravine. They pulled the cable until a boy tied with a safety rope reached the hillside safely shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
“It is a slow and risky operation. One person has to tie himself with a rope and he will go with a small chairlift to save them one by one,” said Abdul Nasir Khan, a resident.