Thirty-four people forced to spend the night suspended in midair in cable cars in the French Alps have been rescued, according to French media.
Rescuers evacuated a total of 110 people from the stranded cable cars in the resort area of Chamonix, but rough flight conditions prevented the rescue operation from continuing overnight, the French Interior Ministry said.
The remaining 34 forced to spend the night were given food and blankets and were accompanied by rescuers, police said.
Among those rescued was an unidentified American tourist, who told The AP, “We were there almost 10 hours in the cable car. The cable car left about 2:30 in the afternoon and it was just before midnight when they finally belayed us out of the gondolas which was really quite an experience. The helicopter rescue failed because the fog moved in so we had to just wait and then they decided they could belay us safely to the ground and we walked up the glacier to the hut.”
The cars were at an elevation of about 3,000 meters — or about 1.6 miles — an official at the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, the company that owns and operates the cable cars, told ABC News. Three of the cables carrying the cars tangled, which led them to stop suddenly, the company said. The accident could have been caused by the wind.
A technical team from the company was unable to repair the cables and decided to call the mountain police rescuers.
Some of the stranded passengers had been rescued by helicopters operated by both French and Italian first responders, Eric Fournier, Mayor of Chamonix, said on French television. The cable cars are located between two mountains — Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner — mountain police rescuers in Chamonix confirmed to ABC News.
Both of the peaks are in the shadow of the famed Mont Blanc.
It was unclear if there were injuries or exactly how many cars are stuck.
Source: abc news