45 tourists rescued from cable car dangling above Alps

45 tourists rescued from cable car dangling above Alps
A tourist who was trapped overnight smiles as he walks at the foot of the cable car service after his rescue.

Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, who were trapped in cable cars dangling high above the Alps overnight, have all been safely rescued.

The mountain rescue service in the French city of Chamonix said the travellers were taken to Chamonix and the Italian town of Courmayeur this morning.

An Italian police officer escorts a boy who was trapped overnight in cable cars above the Alps. Pictures: AP
An Italian police officer escorts a boy who was trapped overnight in cable cars above the Alps. Pictures: AP

A series of cars got stuck after cables tangled at an altitude of 11,600ft (3,600m) over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps at about 4pm local time yesterday, prompting a major rescue operation.

Workers from the operating company tried to untangle the lines but failed. They alerted authorities and French and Italian mountain rescue specialists were brought by helicopter to evacuate the cars.

45 tourists rescued from cable car dangling above Alps

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 110 people were originally stranded in the "technical incident".

Helicopters rescued 65 of them, but 45 had to be left there overnight after operations were halted because of rough flight conditions.

Rescuers provided blankets, food and water to help weather the chilly mountain night-time conditions.

The panoramic Vallee Blanche Cable Car rises to an altitude of 12,395ft (3,778m).

The cars take 30-35 minutes to connect the famed Aiguille du Midi peak to the Pointe Helbronner.

They offer spectacular views of western Europe's tallest mountains, glaciers and steep valleys deep below. The Vallee Blanche Cable Car operates in the summer season, when large numbers of climbers and tourists converge on the area.

Another series of cable cars takes skiers and visitors to the peak of the Aiguille de Midi year-round.

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