All 8 stranded in faulty chairlift rescued after Army operation

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.”

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