Victims include 7 schoolchildren and a teacher stranded after a chairlift wire broken in Battagram at altitude of 600 feet n PM lauds teamwork in successful completion of rescue operation.
PESHAWAR - All eight stranded persons, including schoolchildren and a teacher, were successfully rescued by Pakistan Army troops in a day-long operation after a wire of a cable car snapped in Battagram's Allai tehsil on Tuesday morning, leaving them stranded over 600 feet mid-air.
The operation was a collaborative effort, involving local rescue workers and the Pakistan Army troops. Notably, two individuals were airlifted to safety by an army helicopter, while the remaining seven were skillfully rescued by local responders, including members of Rescue 1122 and Army Commandos.
Residents of Battagram district in Pakistan experienced a tragic incident when a chairlift malfunctioned, leaving eight individuals including seven students and a teacher stranded. The chairlift breakdown occurred at an altitude of over 600 feet, with two children rescued at the time of the initial report, while six others remained stranded during night hours.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the incident unfolded near the Government High School in Batangi. The chairlift’s cable wire snapped around 8:30 a.m., suspending the vehicle above a seasonal stream named Jangi Khwar. The eight individuals trapped in the chairlift were identified as Ibrar, Irfan, Gul Faraz, Usama, Rizwan Ullah, Atta Ullah, Niaz Muhammad, and Sher Nawaz.
The military commandos, referred to as SSGs, also arrived at the scene via helicopters. However, due to the darkness of the night and weather conditions, they could manage to rescue only one child before departing. Local rescuers later succeeded in saving another child, with the ongoing efforts to rescue the remaining victims.
The students, stranded since 7am, were using the cable car to get to school in a mountainous area in Battagram, about 200 km (125 miles) north of Islamabad, officials said.
The ISPR said in a statement that on August 2023, around 07:30, an open cable car became stranded halfway into a ravine at a height of 600 feet while carrying seven school-going students and a teacher in Alai, district Butgram. The incident occurred when two of the three cables supporting the cable car snapped.
After a grueling 13-hour operation, all the trapped children and the teacher were successfully rescued, thanks to the efforts of Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) and aviation teams.
The ISPR said that makeshift cable car was situated in a remote area, four hours away from the nearest road link. Following the accident at 10 am, the district administration sought assistance from the army for rescue and relief operations. Subsequently, all available resources were mobilized to aid in the rescue efforts.
The operation involved the deployment of five helicopters from Pakistan Army Aviation and two helicopters from Pakistan Air Force, along with SSG commanders and army troops. The mission was further complicated by challenging weather conditions, including high winds, which posed risks to both the rescuers and the stranded individuals.
Despite the difficulties, the highly skilled pilots and SSG personnel managed to rescue one child. However, due to deteriorating weather conditions, the mission had to be suspended.
To resume the rescue operation, SSG troops were dispatched to the crash site, and a team of special zipliners was flown to the area by army helicopters. After relentless efforts spanning about four hours, all stranded individuals were successfully rescued from the cable car at a height of 600 feet.
This complicated and challenging rescue operation in Butgram proved successful, demonstrating the unwavering commitment of Pakistan’s armed forces to respond to the needs of the people during difficult times.
The slinging team of the Special Services Group of the Pakistan Army, with assistance from the Pakistan Air Force, local administration, and cable experts, exhibited remarkable skill and collaboration to carry out this unique rescue operation in Pakistan’s history. The dedication of the armed forces to stand by the people in times of adversity remains steadfast.
A local cable expert was also hired to successfully complete the rescue operation. Civil administration and locals also actively participated in this operation.
People who live in the northern mountainous regions of Pakistan often use chair lifts for transport from one village to another.
Abdul Nasir Khan, a local resident, said the children were going to a high school in Batangai in Alai.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, taking to X (formerly Twitter) said, “Relieved to know that Alhamdolillah all the kids have been successfully and safely rescued. Great team work by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people.”