Turkey cable car accident: Scores still stranded high above mountain

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Scores were still stranded in cable cars in southern Turkey on Saturday.

One pod hit a pole and burst open on Friday at 5:30 p.m. local time, killing one and injuring seven others. 

More than 40 people are still stuck high above a mountain 19 hours after the incident. 

The accident occurred on the Tunektepe cable car just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya during the busy Eid al-Fitr holiday. 

Operations to rescue the stranded people continued throughout the night.

“128 citizens in 16 pods have been rescued under difficult conditions,” Okay Memis, director of the Turkish search and rescue agency AFAD, told media Saturday morning. 

“The rescue of 43 others in eight remaining pods is ongoing.”

He added that rescuers hope to complete rescue operations before dark.

Rescue and emergency team members work with passengers of a cable car transportation system outside Antalya, southern Turkey, Friday, April 12, 2024.

Passengers were sent plummeting to the mountainside below when the pod hit the pole on Friday, officials said.

State-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. The injured were six Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz national, including two children. They were rescued by Coast Guard helicopters.

Images in Turkish media showed the battered car swaying from dislodged cables on the side of the rocky mountain as medics tended the wounded.

A total of 543 first responders and seven helicopters are involved in the rescue operations, including teams from AFAD, the Coast Guard, firefighting teams and mountaineering teams from different parts of Turkey, officials said.

Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which sees families flock to coastal resorts.

The cable car, un by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, carries tourists from Konyaalti Beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-metreTunektepe peak. 

It is advertised on Trip Advisor as a “must-do” attraction, offering “awesome panoramas of Antalya and the Mediterranean Sea.” The ride takes nine minutes. 

The cable car line was completed in 2017. It receives a major inspection around the beginning of the year, as well as routine inspections throughout the year.

Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation. 

An expert commission including mechanical and electrical engineers and health and safety experts was assigned to determine the cause of the incident.

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