The transport container is often used by kids going to school through the mountainous region but snapped on its way.
A cable car carrying six children and two adults dangled hundreds of meters above the ground in a remote part of Pakistan after it broke on Tuesday, trapping the occupants for hours before rescuers arrived in helicopters to try to free them.
Army commandos could be seen on local TV trying to lower themselves on ropes from the choppers toward the cable car. An expert warned the rescue was incredibly delicate because the wind created by the helicopters' blades could further weaken cables holding the car aloft.
Relatives of those trapped prayed while anxiously watching the operation unfold. The rescue also transfixed Pakistanis across the country who watched on television.
One of the cables snapped while the eight people were crossing a river canyon in Battagram district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Villagers frequently use cable cars to get to school, government offices or businesses in Pakistan’s mountainous regions, but the cars are often poorly maintained and every year people die or are injured while travelling in them.
Helicopters were sent to attempt to pluck the people from the cable car - but only after they spent six hours precariously suspended 350 meters above ground, according to Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the disaster management authority.
Pakistan's caretaker prime minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, ordered the helicopter rescue, Khan said.
Tipu Sultan, a retired army brigadier and defence expert, warned that the helicopters themselves could make the situation worse but that the commandos would be well aware of that risk. Khan added that the pilots were flying “carefully.”
“Let us pray that those trapped in the cable car are safely rescued,” Sultan said.
In 2017, 10 people were killed when a cable car fell into a ravine hundreds of meters deep in the popular mountain resort of Murree after its cable broke.