On Tuesday morning, a cable car in Battagram’s Allai tehsil suffered a severe malfunction when two wires snapped. This unfortunate event left eight people, including students and a teacher, stranded over 600 feet mid-air. All were rescued in a challenging, hours-long operation led by the Pakistan Army.
Rescue Operation Details
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing, stated that the GOC SSG supervised the operation. The rescued individuals were identified as Irfan s/o Amrez, Niaz s/o Umarzeb, Rizwan s/o Abdul Qayyum, Gulfaraz s/o Hakeemdad, Sher Nawaz s/o Shah Nazar, Abrar s/o Abdul Ghani, Attaullah s/o Kifayatullah, and Usama s/o Muhammad Sharif. The students had been stranded since 7 am while using the cable car as a means of transportation to their school in the mountainous region of Battagram, roughly 200 km north of Islamabad. The incident occurred over the Jangri Khwar stream at the GHS Batangi Pashto.
The rescue effort was a collaboration between various army units, including the Special Services Group (SSG), which employed a slinging team to rescue those trapped in the chairlift safely. Army Aviation also provided full technical support. The operation also saw contributions from Pakistan Air Force pilots, who displayed exemplary skill and efficiency, and a local cable expert. Throughout the rescue process, the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force pilots operated with great precision, even though the conditions were risky due to gusty winds and the chairlift’s unstable position.
Statements and Updates from Authorities
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar expressed relief on X (formerly Twitter) about the successful rescue and lauded the collective efforts of the military, rescue departments, local administration, and civilians. The rescue operation grew more complicated as evening approached, with darkness and weather conditions making aerial operations risky. Authorities thus decided to carry out the operation from the ground, with the assistance of the Pakistan Army. During the rescue attempts, it was observed that the helicopter’s proximity to the cable car made it unstable due to the wind pressure from the helicopter.
There were concerns about the weather conditions, with the Pakistan Meteorological Department indicating possible rain in the evening. Amid these challenges, there was a report of a child fainting inside the cable car due to the heat and fear. As the news of the accident spread, directives were issued from provincial and federal interim governments for a quick rescue. Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar also took to X to emphasize the importance of conducting safety inspections of all such private chairlifts. The NDMA has since requested a safety audit from all provincial disaster management authorities on tourist infrastructure in their areas.