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Eight people rescued from stranded cable car in Pakistan

Stranded cable car
Stranded cable car Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Philip Andrew Churm with AFP
Published on Updated
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All eight people stranded in a cable car hundreds of metres above a ravine in Pakistan have been brought to safety in a dramatic rescue.

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All eight people stranded in a cable car high above a remote valley in Pakistan have been rescued.

Army commandos were helped by civilian volunteers in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to reach the remaining three people late on Tuesday.

Six schoolchildren were among those who had been left hanging in the broken cable gondola for nearly 15 hours while their families looked on desperately.

Attaullah Shah was heading to school when the cable car became stuck.

"When the chairlift was halfway there, its rope broke," he explained.  "It was dangling, and I was terrified.

"I thought it was my last day, and it was over for me." 

The daring rescue began with a helicopter plucking two children to safety after almost 12 hours in the air, but as daylight faded, the chopper was forced back to base in the dark.

Then rescuers used the cable keeping the gondola from plunging into the valley as a zipline to rescue the rest of those stranded late into the night.

Several military helicopters had earlier in the day flown sorties and an airman was lowered by a harness to deliver food, water and medicine.

Cable cars are common across the northern areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and are vital in connecting villages and towns in areas where roads cannot be built.

In 2017, 10 people were killed when a chairlift cable broke, sending passengers plunging into a ravine in a mountain hamlet near the capital Islamabad.

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