At least 7 people have been killed at the Gulmarg ski resort in Indian controlled Kashmir after the cable supporting the gondola cars derailed on Saturday, according to officials.
The 7 deaths occurred due to their windows breaking and being thrown out of their gondola.
“suddenly a gush of strong wind uprooted a pine tree that hit another large pine tree, whose branch fell on the cable derailing it from the pulley. The system stopped operation and we found out that the cable had been derailed between the fifth and sixth towers
“What caused the deaths of our guests was the shattering of glass. After the glass shattered, the occupants were thrown out of the cabin because of the way the car was dangerously swinging.” – Riyaz Ahmad, general manager of the gondola
High winds reported knocked a tree onto the cable which caused the cable to derail.
7 people who were riding the gondola were killed including 2 children.
150 people were trapped in gondola cars. They have all now been rescued.
Riyaz Ahmad, the manager of the cable car service, called the accident an “act of God.” He denies allegations by former chief minister Omar Abdullah that standard operating procedures were ignored by operating it in strong wind.
This gondola is one of the highest in the world topping out at 13,780′. People ride the gondola for the views in the summer and for the skiing and riding in the winter.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah claimed”carelessness” by local authorities.
“If this is what happened it begs the question as to why the cable car operations weren’t suspended in high winds. That is a laid-down SOP [standard operating procedure].” – Omar Abdullahd via twitter rightafter the accident.
The Gulmarg gondola is the 2nd highest gondola on Earth topping out at 13,780′. It has 36 gondolas, 18 towers, and an uphill capacity of 600 people per hour. The bottom station is at 8,530′.
Sunday’s accident is reported to be the first of the kind since the Gulmarg cable car service started operating in 1998.
The Gulmarg gondola was built by the French firm Pomalgalski.