NEWS

Tangled Cable Cars Leave Tourists Dangling All Night 12,500ft Over Mont Blanc

09/09/2016 1:11 PM IST | Updated 09/09/2016 3:09 PM IST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
An EC-135 helicopter operated by the French Societe' Civile hovers, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, near three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car that stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, after its cables reportedly tangled. The cable car carrying tourists stopped working at high altitude over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation and leaving 45 people trapped in midair overnight, France's interior minister said. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Dozens of tourists – including a 10-year-old boy - spent the night dangling 12,500 feet in the air after a number of cable cars became stranded above the French Alps.

A total of 110 people were trapped when their Vallee Blance Cable Cars ground to a halt on Thursday afternoon, after high winds caused the cables carrying them to become tangled over Mont Blanc.

Sixty five people were evacuated by helicopter late on Thursday but the rescue operation had to be suspended overnight when clouds hampered visibility.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A helicopter operated by the French Societe' Civile hovers near the three cars which stalled at around 4pm on Thursday after the cables became tangled in high winds 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
65 people were rescued by helicopter on Thursday night

Those taken to safety on Thursday were brought to Chamonix and the Italian town of Courmayeur.

Frédéric Maurer, 49, and his daughter were among the first to be rescued. He told the Telegraph: “We were in the cab for two-and-a-half hours locked under the sun. 

“We had just started from flagship station Helbronner on the Italian side, when everything froze.”

Rescuers provided blankets, food and water to help weather the chilly mountain night-time conditions. First aid workers stayed inside the cabins to reassure the passengers overnight.

The operation to rescue the remaining tourists resumed on Friday morning after rescuers managed to restart the cars by relaxing the tension of the tangled cables.

A total of 36 cable cars were halted during the incident. 

The 5km ride connects Aiguille du Midi on the French side of the mountain and the Helbronner summit on the Italian border and usually takes 30 minutes to complete. 

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