Eight people, including six children aged 10-15, are currently stranded in a cable car after one of its cables snapped in the north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The incident, occurring over the Allai valley in Battagram, saw the chair-lift dangling perilously 274m (900 ft) above ground.
The accident happened around 07:00 local time Tuesday during the group’s daily commute to school. Local media reports state that such cable cars are a commonplace mode of transport in these mountainous regions, with this particular one believed to be operated privately by residents.
Despite the swift response of rescue helicopters to the scene, gusty winds and potential disturbances from helicopter rotor blades have complicated the rescue mission. Residents have rallied, using loudspeakers to alert officials and gather in significant numbers on either side of the valley, anxiously observing the unfolding situation. Some are assisting authorities in laying out nets beneath the hanging cable car.
Pakistan’s acting Prime Minister, Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, addressing the situation on the social platform X, labeled the incident “alarming” and has ordered an inspection of all privately-operated chair-lifts in the region to ensure safety.
“The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is really alarming. I have directed the NDMA, PDMA and district authorities to urgently ensure safe rescue and evacuation of the 8 people stuck in the chairlift. I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private chairlifts and ensure that they are safe to operate and use.”
Battagram is a district located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Characterized by its mountainous terrain and scenic beauty, the region is situated in the northern part of the country. Historically rich and diverse, Battagram has been a crossroads for various civilizations over the centuries. Despite its picturesque landscapes, the area has faced challenges, including the devastating earthquake of 2005. Its residents primarily rely on agriculture, and the region is known for its unique culture and traditions, deeply rooted in the indigenous community.