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French Alps cable cars: About 50 people stuck over mountains, rescue efforts suspended - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) mont blanc mountain cable car

French Alps cable cars: About 50 people stuck over mountains, rescue efforts suspended Updated September 09, 2016 12:03:23

Video: Rescue efforts suspended for stranded cable car tourists (ABC News) Map: Italy

mont-blanc-mountain-cable-car-rid-0.html. mont blanc cakeAbout 50 people are stuck in cable cars high above the glaciers of Mont Blanc in the French Alps after a helicopter rescue operation was suspended as night fell, officials say.

The cable cars were stuck at "an altitude of 3,800 metres", initially with 110 people on board, Haute-Savoie region prefect Georges-Francois Leclerc said.

"We succeeded in evacuating, in very difficult conditions, 60 people in an hour and a half," Mr Leclerc said.

"We had to suspend the air transport rescue at nightfall."

Mr Leclerc did not say whether the tourists remaining in the cable cars would have to spend the entire night suspended up there.

Video: Rescue efforts were suspended at nightfall (ABC News)

The cable cars connect Aiguille du Midi on the French side of the mountains with Pointe Helbronner on the Italian border.

The problem was caused by cables that got crossed for "unknown reasons" around 1400 GMT and the employees of the Mont-Blanc Company were not able to repair them, said Mathieu Dechavanne, CEO of the company that manages the cable cars.

Earlier, Mr Dechavanne said the rescue operation, including three helicopters from Switzerland, France and Italy, "will take some time but the weather is good".

Weather conditions later deteriorated, turning cloudy at the high altitudes.

"We are in contact with the clients [in the cable cars]. They have water and some means of communication but are beginning to find it's taking a long time," Mr Dechavanne had said.

Australian tourist Louise Banks rode the cars just a few hours before they became stuck.

"Very fast and bouncy cable car ... fastest I've ever been on," she wrote on Instagram.

"I am so thankful that I wasn't there. I've done a lot of cable cars in my time and this one was definitely the fastest and bouncier as I said before."

The cable cars, which carry four passengers each, offer a panoramic view of Mont Blanc, which is at 4,810 metres, crossing from France towards Italy.

External Link: Mont Blanc cable car video

AFP

Topics: accidents---other , italy , france

First posted September 09, 2016 06:08:59


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