The caretaker government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has ordered the inspection of all chairlifts installed in the province and conduct their safety audit following the cable car incident in Battagram.
The directives from the provincial government came on Tuesday just hours after the Pakistan Army’s special unit and zipline experts rescued eight people, including six school boys, trapped for hours in a stricken cable car high above a remote valley in Allai Tehsil.
The daring rescue began with a helicopter plucking one child in the air to safety after almost 12 hours as daylight faded, but the chopper was forced back to the base due to nightfall.
Then rescuers used a cable, to keep the gondola from plunging into the valley, as a zipline to rescue the rest of those stranded late into Tuesday night.
According to fresh directives issued to all the deputy commissioners in KP, they are tasked to carry out a safety audit of chairlifts within their jurisdictions.
Immediate checking of chairlifts at all commercial, domestic and recreational places should be carried out by the provincial government, stated the advisory, adding that inspection of cable cars installed over rivers and canals should also be done by the relevant authorities.
The DCs have been asked to review the design, capacity and safety measures of all chairlifts and submit reports within a week.
It has also been made mandatory to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the district administration before the installation of cable cars.
Cable cars that carry passengers — and sometimes even cars — are common across the northern areas of KP and Gilgit-Baltistan, and are vital in connecting villages and towns in areas where roads cannot be built.
In 2017, 10 people were killed when a chairlift cable broke, sending passengers plunging into a ravine in a mountain hamlet near the capital Islamabad.