Chandigarh and New Delhi:
Eleven tourists were stranded in a cable car that stopped midway in Himachal Pradesh’s Parwanoo on Monday afternoon. After three hours and counting, five of them have so far been rescued in an ongoing operation, officials said.
A rescue trolley was deployed on the cable to get the passengers out, according to the Solan district police chief Virendra Sharma. They were being lowered, one at a time, onto a hill in the Kaushalya river valley below using harnesses. “The technical team of the Timber Trail operator has been deployed and police team is monitoring the situation,” the superintendent of police further told ANI.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force will shortly reach the spot, said Dhanbir Thakur, sub-divisional magistrate.
The cable car is a popular feature of the Timber Trail private resort, about 35 kilometres from Chandigarh on the route to Kasauli and Shimla. It is frequented by people from across the region as Parwanoo is at the cusp of Himachal Pradesh with Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.
Just after the cable car got stuck, some of the elderly tourists among those stranded put out a video detailing why it was worse for them. “I am a diabetes and kidney patient. They are saying the same thing again and again – that we will be rescued using the ropeway. We are not fit to be taken out like this,” said an elderly man.
Monday’s incident brought back memories of a similar incident here in October 1992, when 10 passengers were rescued in an operation by the Army and Air Force; the cable car operator had died.
The Indian Armed Forces had some months ago shared on their official Instagram handle a post carrying three pictures from the time the rescue operation was undertaken. The first photo showed the cable car — with Timber Trail Parwanoo written on it – hanging in the air. Another photo showed a tourist being lifted to the helicopter of the Indian Air Force, while the third one was a group photograph of officers and some rescued passengers.
At that time, only half of the passengers could be rescued at first, before it got dark. The team had to temporarily halt the operation but managed to get the others out the next day. The operator had tried to jump out to safety immediately after the cable car went out of control; but died as his head hit a rock.