Jawad Hussain, a local government official, added that the rescue operation is still ongoing. A second child was later rescued, the National Disaster Management Authority said in a tweet.
Lifeguards have already been forced to consider alternative approaches as one of two military helicopters sent to rescue the group began to destabilize the car as it tried to close, a military official told the Post, speaking under on condition of anonymity in accordance with official policy.
“The military rescue team is now trying to use other options including slingshot operation or rope ladder to rescue them,” he said earlier today. “This is a very risky operation, but military relief troops are carrying it out carefully.”
As weather conditions deteriorated and sunlight began to wane in the late afternoon, helicopter operations were suspended and ground operations began, the official told the Post. Work is underway to bring a second cable car close to the stranded group, where they will be rescued one by one, the official added. Food and water are sent via the second small elevator.
A second official said a military lifeguard provided emergency food, water and medicine to the children in the cable car.
A photograph released by the Agence France-Presse news agency showed a soldier descending from a helicopter. The drug, the official said, was intended to stabilize the children before they were rescued.
Military officials told the Post that rescuers were taking precautions because there was another wire 30 feet above the cable car, which could prevent a helicopter from attempting a rescue. The rescue operation will continue into the night if necessary, they said.
The group was crossing the ravine on Tuesday morning in Battagram, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, when the incident occurred.
The army sent helicopters to attempt a rescue six hours after the people became trapped, said Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the disaster management authority. The Associated Press.
The cable car is suspended over a ravine by a single cable after the other broke, Shariq Riaz Khattak, a rescue official at the scene, told Reuters. He said rescue efforts had been complicated by gusts of wind and one of the passengers had passed out.
The children were using the transport, which some officials described as a chair lift, to get to school in a mountainous region about 200 km north of the capital, Islamabad, the agency reported.
Rescue teams were trying to deploy nets under the cable car, an official in the area, Jawad Hussain, told Pakistani newspaper Dawn. He said locals organized and used the private cable car due to the lack of roads and bridges in the area.
The Pakistani army said special forces were also arriving at the site to rescue those trapped.
Acting Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar describe the incident as “really alarming”. He posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he had ordered authorities “to urgently ensure the safe rescue and evacuation of the 8 people trapped in the chairlift”. He also said he ordered safety inspections of all chairlifts.
Kakar was appointed interim prime minister after the country’s parliament was dissolved this month.
A 20-year-old on the elevator, identified only as Gulfaraz, told the local Geo News outlet after he and other passengers were pinned down for more than six hours, a 16-year-old with heart disease was left unconscious for hours. “We don’t even have drinking water in the chairlift,” he says.
The students range in age from 10 to 16, he said.
“The first cable broke after the chairlift had traveled a mile,” he said. He said the passengers had been waiting for help since early morning and a second cable had snapped.
A schoolteacher, Zafar Iqbal, told Geo News that 150 local children usually use the cable car to get to school.
Cable cars used in the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan are often poorly maintained, leading to deaths and injuries every year, according to the AP.
A crash in 2017 claimed the lives of 12 people in the popular resort town of Murree, around 40 miles northeast of the capital, after a cable car broke, Geo News reported at the time.
بٹگرام پاشتو آلاٸٕی چیئر لفٹ پھنس گیا لفٹ کے سائیڈ کی ٹوٹ گئ لفٹ م ی ں موجود سکول کے بچے چیخ و پکارے رہے ہیں ڈیڑھ گھنٹے سے مدد کے منتظر
posted by Fida Khan.05 Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Sarah Dadouch in Beirut contributed to this report.