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Pakistan Rescues All 8 People from Dangling Cable Car

Pakistan said late Tuesday that an hourslong, military-led operation had rescued all eight people trapped in a cable car hanging high over a ravine after two of the three lines suddenly broke.

Officials said the cable car was carrying mostly students to school in the northern, mountainous Battagram district early Tuesday when the incident happened halfway across the ravine, about 182 meters (597 feet) above the ground.

The cable car dangled by a single line as military helicopters and commandos gradually retrieved its trapped passengers with the help of local engineers in an effort that continued into the night.

Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar announced the conclusion of the rescue mission, which lasted more than 13 hours.

“Relieved to know that Alhamdolillah [praise be to God] all the kids have been successfully and safely rescued. Great teamwork by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people,” Kakar said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A military statement later described the rescue operation as “very difficult and tedious.”

Locals and rescuers blamed gusty winds for significantly impeding the prolonged mission.

The rescue mission had transfixed the South Asian nation, with Pakistanis crowded around television sets as local media showed footage of an emergency worker dangling from a helicopter cable close to the small cabin, with those onboard seen cramped together.

At the scene, villagers had gathered on the vertiginous hillside, anxiously watching the operation.

Earlier, one of the trapped passengers, a schoolteacher, contacted a local television channel by phone and appealed to authorities to urgently rescue them to safety. “Our situation is precarious; for god’s sake, do something,” said schoolteacher Gulfaraz, giving only his first name.

Area officials told reporters the cable car was one among many privately run for transportation across rivers, as there are no roads or bridges in the impoverished northern Pakistani region.

Source : VOA News