A cable car carrying six children and two adults in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was successfully rescued after a harrowing 14-hour ordeal. The incident, which took place in the Battagram district, drew national and global attention. Two individuals have been arrested and charged with negligence in connection with the incident.
The cable car served as a means of transportation across the Jangri Khwar river, as there are no bridges in the area. The children on board were on their way to school when two suspension lines snapped, leaving the gondola hanging about 600 feet (182 meters) above the river ravine.
Civilian rescue crews were joined by the Pakistani Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) and four helicopters to aid in the rescue operation. The entire nation watched as the live broadcast of repeated rescue attempts unfolded on TV.
One child was safely evacuated by helicopter before the rescue attempt was temporarily halted due to concerns about the rotor causing the gondola to break off. As nightfall approached, helicopter operations were called off due to poor visibility and weather conditions. Rescuers then attempted to reach the stranded gondola using ziplines in the darkness.
The rescue operation was described as slow and risky, with a rope-tied individual using a small chairlift to rescue each person one by one. After nearly 15 hours, all eight individuals inside the cable car were safely rescued.
On the following day, the local police arrested the owner and operator of the cable car on suspicion of violating multiple sections of Pakistani law, including “rash driving” and “negligent conduct with respect to machinery.” According to the police report obtained by Dawn, this negligence endangered the lives of the eight individuals, causing emotional distress and resulting in a loss for the government.
The owner was accused of using substandard rope for the cable car and failing to provide a fitness certificate for the cable to the police.
This harrowing incident highlights the importance of ensuring the safety and maintenance of transportation infrastructure. The use of substandard materials and neglecting necessary certifications can have potentially catastrophic consequences. The swift action of the rescue teams, including the army helicopters and specialists, prevented a tragic outcome in this case.
The successful rescue operation is a testament to the dedication and skill of the rescue personnel involved. Their tireless efforts, even in adverse conditions, helped save the lives of the trapped individuals, providing relief and hope to their families and the wider community.
Incidents like these serve as a reminder for authorities to enforce stricter regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety of transportation systems. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols are essential to prevent such accidents from recurring.
The arrests made in connection with the incident send a clear message that negligence and non-compliance with safety standards will not be tolerated. Holding those responsible accountable for their actions is crucial in promoting a culture of safety and preventing future incidents.
As the news of this dramatic rescue spreads through social media and news outlets, it serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of maintaining vigilant and safe transportation infrastructure. The heroic efforts of the rescue teams and the successful outcome offer a glimmer of hope in the face of adversity, showcasing the human spirit’s resilience and determination.