Last updated: 10:09 AM ET, Fri September 09 2016

Tourists Rescued from Cable Cars Above French Alps

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | September 09, 2016

Tourists Rescued from Cable Cars Above French Alps

Photo via Twitter/Katy Dartford

On Friday, emergency crews were able to rescue more than 100 people— including several American tourists—trapped in cable cars over the French Alps due to a technical malfunction.

According to, the 110 people stranded in the 36 gondolas were trapped for up to 16 hours while crews worked to rescue them. The cars stalled out between two mountains near the Chamonix ski resort.

Officials said around 70 people were rescued Thursday night by helicopter or by being belayed to the ground—up to 300 feet—but emergency crews had to stop when fog rolled in, leaving another 30 people trapped inside the cable cars overnight.

Another 14 people were rescued Friday morning, and the technical malfunction was finally fixed at around 8:30 a.m. local time. The remaining gondolas were brought down from the mountain safely.

Helicopter crews were forced to hover over the cable cars and lower rescuers onto the gondolas, who then strapped themselves to the people trapped onboard and brought them to safety one-by-one.

EuroNews and CNN provided video of the incident on YouTube and Twitter:

“We were there almost 10 hours in the cable car,” American tourist Kathy Cook told The Associated Press. “It was just before midnight when they finally belayed us out of the gondolas which was really quite an experience.”

The president of the company which runs the cable cars explained that the incident was caused when a tow cable crossed over the main support cable in three places. While this is a common issue for the ride, it caused the gondolas to stall and forced the company to call for a rescue.


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