11 tourists stuck in Himachal cable car rescued in 6-hour ops; probe ordered

Eleven tourists were stranded for hours in a cable car after a malfunction at Timber Trail Resort in Parwanoo in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, where they were rescued during a six-hour operation, police said.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who was in charge of the rescue operation, ordered an investigation into the incident.

11 tourists, including four women, were trapped around 10:30 am when the ropeway suddenly stopped due to a technical fault in the shaft of the trolley, police said.

Visitors, supposedly from Delhi, were heading to the Timber Trail Resort at 2,000 feet above sea level and up to 5,000 feet at Timber Train Heights and Terrace Resort. Typically, a 2.8km ride on a river of skill that flows in the deep gorge of the Shivalik range takes 10 minutes.

Police Superintendent Solan Veerendra Sharma concluded the operation at 5.30 pm as officials and cable car operator took about six hours to complete the rescue operation.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who was returning from Shimla to Hamirpur in a helicopter, conducted an aerial survey of the rescue operation and later visited the rescued tourists.

Solan district initially indicated that it may need assistance from the military to protect tourists but later, Superintendent of Police Virendra Sharma said he was able to handle it.

Sharma said rescue workers deployed a second cable car trolley to protect residents.

Thakur

One of the rescued persons told the media that all 11 tourists were from Delhi.

According to Solan Police Superintendent Virendra Sharma, another cable car trolley has been deployed to protect people.

In a previous tweet, Thakur said the National Disaster Management Force (NDRF) team was also in place.

This is the second incident involving a cable car in the country in less than three months.

Two people were killed when a cable derailment in April caused a technical flaw in the Deoghar hills of Deoghar, Jharkhand. Two of the three dead have died while trying to rescue a helicopter.

The last major incident on the Timber Trail Resort Ropeway occurred on October 13, 1992, when a cable car near the docking station broke down and a cable car carrying 11 passengers withdrew. The operator jumped from the car and crashed into a rock and died.

The Indian Air Force rescued tourists in a joint operation with the Sarsawa-based 152 helicopter unit in Uttar Pradesh, the 1 para commando unit at Nahan in Himachal Pradesh and the engineers unit at Chandimandir.

The operation was led by the then Group Captain Folly H Major, who later became the IAF chief later in his career.

Para Commando used a helicopter winch to land on the car. He opened the escape hatch on top of the car and tossed the passengers one by one. Due to the failed light, only four passengers were able to be rescued on October 14 and the commando, Major Evan Joseph Krasto, remained in the car for the night. The rest of the passengers were rescued the next day.

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