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Sunday 17 December 2017

Dozens of tourists rescued from cable car 3,000 metres above French Alps

Four helicopters were deployed after 110 people became stuck when the cable cars stalled because of a
Four helicopters were deployed after 110 people became stuck when the cable cars stalled because of a "technical incident", interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, who were trapped in cable cars dangling high above the Alps overnight, have all been safely rescued.

The mountain rescue service in the French city of Chamonix said the travellers were taken to Chamonix and the Italian town of Courmayeur on Friday morning.

A series of cars got stuck after cables tangled at an altitude of 11,600ft (3,600m) over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps at about 4pm local time on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation.

Workers from the operating company tried to untangle the lines but failed. They alerted authorities and French and Italian mountain rescue specialists were brought by helicopter to evacuate the cars.

Rescued passengers arrive at a cable car station in Courmayeur, Italy (Local Team/AP)
Rescued passengers arrive at a cable car station in Courmayeur, Italy (Local Team/AP)

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 110 people were originally stranded in the "technical incident".

Helicopters rescued 65 of them, but 45 had to be left there overnight after operations were halted because of rough flight conditions.

Rescuers provided blankets, food and water to help weather the chilly mountain night-time conditions.

The panoramic Vallee Blanche Cable Car rises to an altitude of 12,395ft (3,778m).

The cars take 30-35 minutes to connect the famed Aiguille du Midi peak to the Pointe Helbronner.

They offer spectacular views of western Europe's tallest mountains, glaciers and steep valleys deep below. The Vallee Blanche Cable Car operates in the summer season, when large numbers of climbers and tourists converge on the area.

Another series of cable cars takes skiers and visitors to the peak of the Aiguille de Midi year-round.ns.

Press Association

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