A military source informed CNN that four children have been successfully rescued from a chairlift that was hanging precariously over a mountainous area in Pakistan, suspended 900 feet in the air for at least 10 hours. Concurrently, efforts were ongoing to save two other children and two adults still trapped inside the cable car as of Tuesday, August 22nd.
These children were on their way to school in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when one of the chairlift’s cables snapped around 8:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, stated Tanveer Ur Rehman, the deputy commissioner of the Battagram district. According to Ur Rehman, the chairlift had been operating multiple trips before the cable malfunctioned earlier that day.
Initial efforts to reach the stranded chairlift were hampered by strong winds, as informed by Ur Rehman.
A video from the rescue services depicted a large gathering of people on the mountainside, observing as a Special Services officer was lowered from a helicopter toward the tilted chairlift.
One of the passengers aboard the chairlift mentioned to Pakistani media outlet Geo News that two of the students were intermittently losing consciousness. The passenger, identified only as Gulfaraz, appealed to authorities to take action. He revealed that the students, aged between 10 and 15 years, were lacking even basic amenities like drinking water.
Rescue personnel provided nausea medication to the passengers due to reports of children vomiting, mentioned Ur Rehman. Additionally, those trapped were administered heart-related medication.
Initially, a local government official had stated that eight children, along with the adults, were stranded at an altitude of 1,200 feet (365 meters).
The chairlift functions as a connection between two communities in the region and operates using two cables, one of which snapped, as conveyed by Bilal Ahmad Faizi, a rescue official.
Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, issued an order for the immediate closure of all “dilapidated and non-compliant chairlifts,” as stated in a release from his office.
Many children residing in remote and mountainous regions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province rely on cable cars for transportation to and from school. However, some of these cable cars lack regular maintenance, making them a risky mode of travel.