Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Pakistani military rescued six children and two adults from a disabled cable car perilously hanging 900 feet in a mountainous region of Pakistan on Tuesday.
The children were traveling to school in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when one of the chairlift cables snapped Tuesday morning. They were stranded for more than 15 hours. An aerial rescue operation was suspended after sunset, and a ground rescue was launched.
"Great team work by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people," caretaker Prime Minister Anwar Kakar said on X.
Tanveer Ur Rehman, the deputy commissioner of Battagram district, said the cable car had completed multiple trips on Tuesday before the cable snapped. Strong winds slowed the delicate rescue efforts by the Army Special Services.
The chairlift hangs above a ravine. One helicopter conducted surveillance to help come up with a rescue plan. Officials said that while it was a delicate operation, they worked to move as quickly as possible.
"There is a possibility of bad weather in this area," retired Wing Commander Asim Nawaz said. "It is better if the helicopter is 60 to 80 feet away from the chairlift."
Authorities said that emergency personnel performed a "sling operation" to save the cable car passengers. That involves hoisting an emergency worker with a sling and approaching the car. The victim is tied with the rescuer or another sling to lift them to safety.
Officials said the helicopter pilot and rescuer had to be careful of downdrafts, air that is deflected toward the ground, which could be produced by the helicopter's propellers.