Dozens of tourists were rescued on Friday after spending up to 16 hours trapped in cable cars dangling high above the French Alps.
More than 100 people were left hanging in the cars at about 10,000 feet following a malfunction between two mountains near the Chamonix ski resort.
Officials said that about 70 of those trapped in the cars were rescued on Thursday night by helicopter but around 30 people which included a 10-year-old child were forced to spend the night after the rescue was thwarted by fog.
Another 14 were rescued when the weather conditions improved Friday morning before the problem with the cable cars was fixed and the cars rolled back down the mountain according to Walter Milan, a spokesperson for Italy’s mountain rescue service.
“We were there for almost 10 hours in the cable car” an American tourist, Kathy Cook explained , she was among the first group of people to be lowered to the ground. Helicopters had to fly over the cable, which was risky in itself and then lower the rescue team to an area “not larger than a table.”
Col. Frederic Labrunye, commander of the provincial gendarmerie explained. They had to strap themselves to passengers on the cable cars and rescue them one by one, something he described as “Air surgery”
According to the authorities, some of the people were trapped for up to 16 hours.