PAKISTAN — All seven students and a teacher stranded in a cable car dangling over a ravine have been rescued.
"Relieved to know that Alhamdolillah [praise be to God] all the kids have been successfully and safely rescued," Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Great team work by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people."
The group had been stuck since 7 a.m. local time Tuesday after a cable line snapped. It was traveling to school in a remote mountainous area in Battagram, about 125 miles north of Islamabad, when the cable car became stranded halfway across the ravine, about 900 feet above the ground.
The car is dangling by a single cable, Shariq Riaz Khattak, a rescue official at the site, told Reuters.
Initially, five children were rescued, the Pakistan Armed Forces said in a news release earlier Tuesday. The others were rescued later in the day. At least one child was rescued by helicopter, and the others were rescued by rope.
No further details were immediately available.
The rescue mission had been complicated because of gusty winds in the area and the fact the helicopters’ rotor blades risked further destabilizing the lift, Khattak had said.
Gulfaraz, 20, who was on the cable car, had pleaded with officials to act quickly, telling the local television channel Geo News over the phone that they were in a "precarious" situation. He said the other students were 10 to 15 years old.
The rescue efforts transfixed the country. Many Pakistanis crowded around television sets as local media showed video of an emergency worker dangling from a helicopter cable close to the small cabin, with those onboard seen cramped together.
Crowds of villagers gathered on the vertiginous hillside anxiously watching the operation.
Muzaffar Khan, a district administration official in Battagram, said seven students and teacher were aboard, updating earlier reports of six students and two teachers.
Mushtaq Yusufzai reported from Pakistan; Minyvonne Burke reported from Pittsburgh.