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Cable Car Accident in Antalya, Turkey, Drops Passengers Onto Mountain

WorldEuropeCable Car Accident in Antalya, Turkey, Drops Passengers Onto Mountain

A cable car ferrying passengers in a mountainous area of southern Turkey broke apart after colliding with part of the metal structure supporting it on Friday, sending its eight terrified occupants plummeting to the rocky hillside below.

One passenger was killed, seven were injured and nearly 200 more were trapped in other cabins in midair, some for as long as 19 hours, as rescuers worked to free them from the crippled line.

Helicopters, cranes and hundreds of rescuers were deployed to the area to evacuate a total of 184 people, including children, local residents and foreign tourists who were stranded in cabins, some of them dozens of meters above the ground in the Sarisu area of Antalya Province, officials said.

The cable cars normally transport passengers to a point high up the steep, tree-covered mountain that offers views of sweeping views of the hills, the city of Antalya and the Mediterranean Sea. Friday may have been a particularly busy evening for tourism there; the weekend began as Muslims celebrated Eid, the multiday holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Around 6 p.m. local time on Friday, a pole that was part of the system broke off and struck one of the cabins, smashing the cabin and dropping its eight passengers to the rocky ground when the floor they were standing on suddenly fell away, the Demiroren news agency reported.

One passenger, a 54-year-old man, died at the scene and the other seven were injured, Demiroren said. Three more people were wounded during the rescue operation, Mayor Muhittin Bocek of Antalya told reporters at the scene.

Images from the site showed the broken car, without its floor and with its windows shattered, hanging yards above the ground in the evening twilight. Other cabins — many with shaken occupants still inside — stretched ahead and behind it in a long line, suspended like tiny orange fruits from a vine above the rocks and trees below.

Tall cranes rose near some of the cars. On others, emergency personnel wearing climbing helmets scampered up ropes to reach the trapped occupants, and used metal baskets to carry down the injured.

In one instance, a female passenger wearing high-heel sandals and carrying a small child secured on her chest was evacuated with safety straps and slowly lowered to the ground. One rescuer waited on the cabin as she was evacuated while the other passengers waiting inside for their turns.

Rescuers managed to evacuate 137 people overnight and into Saturday morning, and officials said they expected to conclude the rescue operation before dark. At midday, passengers in five cabins were still waiting to be evacuated in what had become a methodical and dangerous task.

“There is a volatile flow of air and there is wind,” said Okay Memis, the head of Turkey’s emergency agency in televised remarks, adding that this made it hard for helicopters to fly to operate near the site. “Rescue work is taking place on a very steep area.”

Mr. Memis said officials on the ground were in constant contact with the stranded riders.

Prosecutors have initiated an investigation into the accident, Turkey’s justice minister said, and experts have been assigned to determine the underlying cause and any liability.

All 24 cabins of the cable-car line were in the air when the crash happened. Many of the small cars, which each have a listed capacity of eight, were carrying both adults and children. The line opened in 2017, starting near a picnic area, and offers direct access to the viewing platform, stores and a cafe at the top.

Mayor Bocek, whose municipality runs the cable line, said in televised remarks that the weekly and monthly maintenance of the cable line had been completed.

The latest yearly maintenance was done between Feb. 19 and March 4 this year, said Deniz Yavuzyilmaz, an official from Mr. Bocek’s political party.

#Cable #Car #Accident #Antalya #Turkey #Drops #Passengers #Mountain

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