On the night of Tuesday August 23 2023, Pakistan breathed a sigh of relief after all the children who were trapped in a broken down cable car suspended 1,200ft in the air were brought to safety, marking the end of an intense 16-hour rescue operation.
The gondola had been carrying six youngsters and two adults, thought to be teachers, to their school in the remote mountainous region of Battagram, 120 miles north of Islamabad, when one of the cables snapped.
It sparked a frantic helicopter mission lasting much of the day, seeing the students, aged between 11 and 15, and their companions pulled out one by one.
But are cable cars safe to use? Do cable car accidents occur frequently in other parts of the world?
Read on below for everything you need to know about the safety of cable cars.
Prior to the incident in Pakistan on August 22, there had been no reported problems with the cable cars, with locals viewing them as the best way to travel around the region. Pictured: A cable car carrying eight people dangles hundreds of meters above the ground, in Pashto village, a mountainous area of Battagram district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Tuesday August 22 2023
How safe are cable cars?
Prior to the incident in Pakistan on August 22, there had been no reported problems with the cable cars, with locals viewing them as the best way to travel around the region.
Mohabbat Shah, who lives in the area, said locals are willing to risk the dangerous journey as they don’t have many other ways travelling to key services.
He told the BBC: ‘We pay only 10 rupees per person on a one way trip. If we book a cab, this will cost up to 2000 rupees (£18.91).’
The safety of cable cars has been proven by the lack of incidents in similar infrastructure across the globe.
Since opening in June 2012, the London cable car has only had one incident of note.
One month after it opened, passengers were suspended 300ft in the air inside the cable car after a technical fault with the alarm system, there were no reported injuries.
How common are cable car accidents across the world?
While the cable car that broke down in Pakistan on August 22 had not had issues before, others in different parts of the country have.
In 2017, in Muree, Punjab, an illegal car crashed and fell into a ravine. There were 11 people killed in the crash.
In December 2022 in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 12 children on their way to school had to be rescued when a rope snapped. They were also stranded above a river as they waited to be saved.
Since opening in June 2012, the London cable car has only had one incident of note. One month after it opened, passengers were suspended 300ft in the air inside the cable car after a technical fault with the alarm system, there were no reported injuries. Pictured: the London cable car crossing to Greenwich Peninsula
After the incident in Battagram on August 23, Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, called for safety inspections of all homemade cable cars.
In May 2021, 14 people were killed after a horror accident in which a mountain-top cable car plunged 65ft to the ground in northern Italy.
The cable car was carrying passengers to the top of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region of the western Alps when it dropped just 1,000ft away from the station.
The Mottarone cable car was opened in 1970. It reaches a height of 4,900ft and takes tourists from the town of Stresa, to the top of the mountain, in 20 minutes.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.